Police watchdog group condemns Potter sentence 

Photo by KingDemetrius Pendleton

Judge Regina Chu sentenced former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter to a mere 24 months (16 to actually be served) in the murder of Daunte Wright.  

In doing so, Chu focused on the possible effects of any sentence on Potter, ignoring the effects of the leniency of this sentence on the Wright family and the community.

Communities United Against Police Brutality CUAPB) condemns this sentence as unjust to the Wright family and unjust to the community. The killing of Daunte Wright was not just a “tragic accident” but a deliberate traffic stop over an expired license plate and an air freshener that resulted in a young man’s death.  

Potter’s sentence is yet another example of the impunity afforded to police, even when their misconduct causes great harm to a family and the community.

In issuing her sentence, Chu commented that Potter had no criminal record and that “she’ll never do it again.” The same can be said of most people convicted of murder, yet this is rarely considered by judges issuing sentences in such cases.

Chu claimed that Potter was trying to defend other officers with a “split-second decision in a rapidly evolving situation”—the exact language used to defend cops in civil trials. 

The reality is that Potter looked down the barrel of her gun for five seconds before pulling the trigger and the gun was aimed not just at Daunte, but at his passenger and an officer on the passenger side of the car. Her conduct was beyond reckless and should have been treated that way in the sentencing.

Chu claimed that Potter showed adequate remorse for her crime but there is no evidence of this to be found anywhere in the body-worn camera footage at the scene or at any time during the trial.  

After shooting Daunte, Potter rolled on the ground screaming about going to jail then called her union rep, all while Daunte bled to death in the car with no aid. Throughout the trial, Potter never used Daunte’s name, referring to him only as “the driver.” The only regret ever demonstrated by Potter is that she would face consequences for her actions.

Based on her comments, it is clear that Chu’s empathy was with Potter, and not the Wright family. The sentence handed down by Chu is a mere 13% of the presumptive sentence of 15 years.  

Even at that, Potter will serve only two-thirds of the sentence. This sentence is wholly inadequate for the grossly negligent actions of a highly-trained police officer who robbed a family of their loved one and greatly harmed our community.

CUAPB was created to deal with police brutality in Minnesota on an ongoing basis.