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Daunte Wright's family ‘cheated’ by two-year sentence for US officer who killed him

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Katie Ann Wright, mother of Daunte Wright, speaks to the press in Minneapolis, Minnesota, US February 18, 2022. (Reuters photo)

A former Minnesota police officer who fatally shot 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black man, during a traffic stop last year, has been sentenced to only two years in prison.

Speaking outside the Hennepin county courthouse in Minneapolis shortly after the hearing’s conclusion on Friday, Wright’s family said they felt “cheated” of justice after Potter received just 24 months in prison.

Potter, a white 26-year veteran of the Brooklyn Center police department, shot Wright with her Glock 9mm service pistol in April 2021, thinking she was pulling out her Taser.

Judge Regina Chu said that Potter, 49, who was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter in December, made “a tragic mistake.”

Justifying the lesser sentence, Judge Chu said that the former officer’s conduct “was significantly less serious than your typical manslaughter case”.

“Officer Potter never intended to use her firearm. She mistakenly drew her firearm at all times intending to use her Taser,” she said.

Potter, under Minnesota law, will serve two-thirds of her sentence in prison and the rest under supervised probation.

Arbuey Wright, Daunte Wright’s father, broke down in tears as he condemned the sentence after the hearing.

“I feel cheated. I feel hurt. I’m very upset that my son’s life was taken, and it seemed to me nobody even cared enough,” he said, referring to Potter’s own tearful apology in court to his family.

“It was like they were so tied up into her feelings and what was going on with her that they forgot about my son being killed. I feel like we were tricked. We actually thought we were going to get a little justice … but I walk out of this courthouse feeling like people are laughing at us because this lady got a slap on the wrist.”

Body camera video released by the police department shows while Potter attempts to take Wright into custody, he attempts to re-enter his car and there is a struggle between them.

The officer panics and shouts "Taser! Taser! Taser!" but then instead pulls out a gun and fires a single shot into him. Wright drives off for a short distance, later crashing and dying from the gunshot wound.

The killing of Daunte Wright triggered a wave of protests in Minneapolis.

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