Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Kim Potter verdict

Damik Wright (center), brother of Daunte Wright, celebrates outside the Hennepin County Courthouse after the verdict was announced in the trial of former police officer Kim Potter in Minneapolis, Minnesota on December 23, 2021. (Photo: Kerem Yucel/AFP via Getty Images)

'Small Win for Police Accountability' as Kim Potter Found Guilty of Manslaughter in Daunte Wright Killing

"This verdict is still not justice. True justice doesn't come one verdict at a time. Real justice means that these situations do not happen in the first place."

Brett Wilkins

This is a breaking news story... Check back for possible updates...

After four days of deliberation, a Hennepin County, Minnesota jury on Thursday found former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter guilty of first- and second-degree manslaughter for fatally shooting Daunte Wright, an unarmed 20-year-old Black father, during an April 11 traffic stop.

"Kim Potter was found GUILTY," Black Lives Matter tweeted following the verdict. "May the spirit of justice in the name of Daunte Wright lead us into the new year."

The ACLU tweeted: "This verdict is still not justice. True justice doesn't come one verdict at a time. Real justice means that these situations do not happen in the first place."

Wright family attorneys Benjamin Crump, Antonio Romanucci, and Jeff Storms, released the following statement regarding the verdict:

The family of Daunte Wright is relieved that the justice system has provided some measure of accountability for the senseless death of their son, brother, father, and friend. From the unnecessary and overreaching tragic traffic stop to the shooting that took his life, that day will remain a traumatic one for this family and yet another example for America of why we desperately need change in policing, training, and protocols.

If we are ever going to restore the confidence of Black and marginalized Americans in law enforcement, we need to have accountability and a commitment to listening and to creating meaningful change. We must now turn our attention to ensuring that Kim Potter receives the strongest and most just sentence possible. It is also imperative that we focus on the conduct of Brooklyn Center and pinpoint its systemic failures that contributed to Daunte's unlawful death.

Potter unsuccessfully argued that she meant to use her Taser, and not her Glock semi-automatic pistol, on Wright during what she described as a "chaotic" encounter. The former 26-year veteran officer could face up to 15 years behind bars and as much as a $30,000 fine. However, CNN reports that since she has no criminal history, state sentencing guidelines recommend a sentence in the six-to-8.5-year range.

Potter's sentencing is scheduled for February 22. The presiding judge in the case, Regina Chu, ordered Potter to be immediately jailed.

Potter's trial took place in the same Minneapolis courthouse where former city police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in April of murdering George Floyd last year.

"Kimberly Potter's actions were not accidental and it certainly was not an anomaly," Scott Roberts, senior director of criminal justice and democracy campaigns at Color Of Change, said in a statement. "The murder of Daunte Wright, as well as the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and countless other Black people at the hands of police, is indicative of an entire policing system predicated on anti-Black violence."

"It's a system propped up not only by local police departments, but also by dangerous police unions—like the Brooklyn Center police union, of which Potter was president—and police foundations that perpetuate this culture of violence," he added. "Aggressive, heavy-handed policing only makes our communities less safe. And while cases like this help to hold individual officers responsible for unconscionable crimes, they're far from the systemic solutions we ultimately need in order to deliver justice."

NAACP president Derrick Johnson called the verdict "a small victory in the fight for peace in Minnesota and across our country."

"We are pleased that the jury found Kim Potter guilty of manslaughter, but this verdict does not correct the wrongful killing of Daunte Wright," he said in a statement. "Daunte Wright, a father to an infant son, died unjustly at the hands of the police and left behind his family and an entire community of people who love him."

"We will continue to demand justice," Johnson vowed, "whether it be from carelessness and negligence, or a blatant modern-day lynching."

Margaret Huang, CEO of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said that "the murder of Daunte Wright by a white officer who swore to protect and serve her community is yet another example of violent police interactions with Black citizens. After being pulled over for a minor traffic infraction in Minneapolis—just 11 miles away from where George Floyd succumbed at the knee of another officer—Daunte Wright was shot and killed by former police officer Kim Potter. "

"We must not forget about the countless other Black and brown people who have been shot or killed by police officers in the U.S., often without the benefit of video evidence or sympathetic juries such as those in Kim Potter's trial," she continued. "In the United States, Black men are about 2.5 times more likely to be killed by police than are white men. Due to the history of human rights violations by law enforcement who frequently use force—especially lethal force—against individuals of color, we must undertake significant reforms to stop seeing these tragedies unfold."

"Our criminal and legal systems are long overdue for a transformation to root out the inherent racism that has long plagued our country," Huang added. "We challenge lawmakers at both the federal and state levels to hold officers accountable for police violence."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Conservative British Prime Minister Boris Johnson Agrees to Resign

"It is good news for the country that Boris Johnson has resigned as prime minister. But it should have happened long ago," said Labour Leader Keir Starmer. "He was always unfit for office."

Jake Johnson ·

Fulton County Subpoenas of Trump Allies Offer Hope 'That Justice Will Ultimately Be Served'

"The coordinated attempts by former President Donald Trump and his associates to discount and ignore the will of Georgian voters during the 2020 election cannot be swept under the rug," said one activist.

Jessica Corbett ·

Russian Official Makes Nuclear Threat Over US Support for Ukraine War Crimes Probe

Another official responded to Western sanctions by suggesting that Russia could reclaim Alaska.

Brett Wilkins ·

Biden Denounced for Imposing New Sanctions as Iran Nuclear Talks Falter

One Middle East expert accused the U.S. administration of "continuing and embracing Trump's max pressure policy, while expecting a different result."

Brett Wilkins ·

Under 'Draconian Abortion Ban,' Woman in El Salvador Sentenced to 50 Years for Pregnancy Loss

Laws like El Salvador's are "now being replicated in states across the U.S.," noted one observer.

Julia Conley ·

Common Dreams Logo