The news of a white officer killing a black person, specifically young black boys and men are not very rare to occur, but the perspective around accountability in the matter is changing over the past couple of years. Kim Potter, an ex Minnesota officer fatally shot and killed Daunte Wright, a 20-years-old black man, during a traffic stop and attempted arrest in April of 2021. The ex-officer has finally been convicted of her crimes, with two counts of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter each.
The sentence has not been announced yet, but jurors came to a decision of conviction after a long deliberation of multiple days. The first-degree manslaughter charge Potter was found guilty of, accounts for the use of “force and violence that death of or great bodily harm to any person is reasonably foreseeable.”
She clearly said in her appeal that the shooting was accidental, as she meant to tase Daunte Wright with her taser, but mistakenly used her gun. The sentencing has been scheduled for 18th February, and Potter has been denied a request to go home before as well. Judge Regina Chu said, “I cannot treat this case any differently than any other case,” referencing her deep roots in the community.
Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison talked to the press about the case saying, “We have a degree of accountability for Daunte’s death. Accountability is not justice. Justice is beyond the reach that we have in this life for Daunte but accountability is an important step, a critical, necessary step on the road to justice for us all,” adding that he is saddened that the Wright family will have an empty chair during the holidays.
People outside the courtroom carried Wright’s portraits with justice and “Black Lives Matter” signs and posters, followed by a brass band and applause going on after the conviction was announced.
Arbuey Wright and Katie Bryant, parents of Daunte Wright, were emotional but grateful of the decision, with Bryant saying, “The moment we heard guilty on manslaughter one emotions, every single emotion that you can imagine just running through your body. I kind of let out a yelp because it was built up in the anticipation.”
She later added, “We still don’t have Daunte home. And this is just a step forward in the bigger issue with policing and hopefully, there has to be no more Dauntes. No more Dauntes and so many more names we chant in our streets,” talking about the violent and jarring rate of black lives lost to police brutality and fatal misconduct that goes unchecked.