Officer found guilty of manslaughter in Daunte Wright case

Court TV, via AP, Pool

The death of Daunte Wright was an awful tragedy. Yes, there were warrants out for his arrest, but that doesn’t change the fact that he was shot when Officer Kim Potter meant to use her taser.


That makes it a tragedy all on its own.

Potter found herself on trial. Now, she’s probably going to find herself in prison.

The jury has found former Minneapolis-area police Officer Kim Potter guilty of first and second degree manslaughter charges in the April 2021 death of Daunte Wright.

Kim Potter, 49, could face a maximum sentence of 15 years for the first-degree manslaughter charge, while the second-degree charge carries a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Judge Regina Chu ordered Potter to be taken into custody and held without bail. She also praised the jurors as “heroes of the judicial system.” The judge rejected a request from the defense team that Potter be allowed to remain out on $100,000 bail before sentencing. They argued that it’s Christmas season and Potter is a devout Catholic, but prosecutors noted that Potter’s family had moved out of state.

Judge Chu scheduled Potter to be sentenced on Feb. 18. She faces up to 15 years in prison for the first-degree manslaughter charge and up to 10 years in prison for the second-degree manslaughter charge.


For better or worse, this was probably the right decision.

The fact of the matter is that Potter, a field training officer, made a horrific mistake that resulted in someone’s death. It’s clear from the video that she intended to use her taser, only to use her firearm instead.

This is why many departments mandate the guns be carried on opposite sides, a policy I think should be in every department in the nation in an effort to stop this kind of thing from happening again.

The truth is that as a training officer, she’s expected to know better. She’s expected to be equipped with the knowledge to prevent something like this from happening. Only, it happened anyway.

Obviously, not everyone is going to be thrilled with this verdict. Some apparently believe Potter did nothing wrong, despite Potter’s own words to the contrary on the video of the incident. That’s fine, though. People can think whatever they want.

Potter is likely going to prison for at least a few years. I doubt she’ll get the maximum sentence, though Judge Chu didn’t seem particularly sympathetic to Potter in the least. That might not bode well or a lenient sentence, but we’ll have to see.


This conviction comes on the heels of the conviction of Derek Chauvin’s over the death of George Floyd. As this is in the same neck of the woods, it’s going to be difficult not to link the two in some manner.

However, these are fundamentally different cases. For Potter, her mistake is far more understandable. It’s wrong and it shouldn’t have happened, but in the heat of the moment, it’s not difficult to imagine pulling the wrong gun and not noticing the difference in weight. You might have to work at it, but you can do it.

We’ll have to see if that understanding plays into Potter’s sentencing.

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