Daunte Wright's Loved Ones Emphasize Loss at Officer Kim Potter's Sentencing: 'So Much Darkness and Heartache'

Potter was sentenced to 16 months in prison and eight months of supervised release Friday following a manslaughter conviction for shooting Wright, an unarmed Black man killed during a traffic stop

Father Arbuey Wright (L) and mother Katie Wright (2L) give remarks alongside sister Diamond Wright (R) and Rev Al Sharpton during a funeral held for Daunte Wright
Daunte Wright's father Arbuey Wright, left, and mother Katie Wright, center, at his funeral April 22. Photo: Stephen Maturen/Getty

On Friday morning, former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter was sentenced to two years — 16 months in prison and eight months of supervised release — for fatally shooting Daunte Wright, an unarmed Black man, during a traffic stop last year.

Before Judge Regina Chu announced the sentence — addressing Potter's conviction of first- and second-degree manslaughter — the court heard victim impact statements from several of Daunte's loved ones, highlighting the suffering they experienced following his tragic death.

Daunte's mother, Katie Ann Wright, was the first to address the court in a tearful statement accusing Potter of dehumanizing her son and failing to make eye contact or apologize to her family throughout the course of the trial.

"Your honor, I hope the defendant is listening as I speak loud and clear today, and yes, I refer to her as the defendant because I will not give her the respect of calling her by name," Katie said, explaining that Potter repeatedly referred to Daunte only as "the driver."

Speaking directly to Potter, she said, "I'll never be able to forgive you for what you've stolen from us."

"On this day she did not protect. She failed Daunte, our family, and our community," Katie said. "She left our world with so much darkness and heartache."

Kim Potter sentencing
Court TV via AP

Daunte's sister, Diamond Wright, who also took the stand to share memories with her brother, said Daunte did a great job of being there for her.

"How come I have to go see my brother in a metal container [now] just to talk to him?" she asked through tears.

"I never thought that my brother would be killed by the same people we're supposed to feel protected by," she said. "I know that the charge is manslaughter, but I believe it should be called murder."

Diamond says she once had a conversation with Daunte and her mother, who is white, about their skin color, determining that "just maybe we have enough whiteness to not be seen as a threat to police."

When Chyna Whitaker, who is the mother of Daunte's young child, Daunte Jr., addressed the court, she spoke of the long-term impact that the shooting will have on her family.

"Kim Potter took my son's best friend away from him, and things haven't been the same since," she said. "I am now a single mother — not by choice, by force."

She continued: "My son hasn't seen his dad in almost a year, and I know he doesn't understand what's going on, but he senses his dad being gone." Whitaker said that she often finds their son, who is now 2, staring at a poster of Daunte that she hung in his bedroom.

"Police are supposed to protect and serve the community. How will my son learn to trust the police after what happened to his dad?" she asked. "I don't want my son to grow up afraid of police or hating them, nevertheless it's only fair that Kim Potter be sentenced to the maximum amount of time for executing my son Daunte Jr.'s father."

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Before Potter's sentence was revealed, she was given a chance to respond to the comments.

"To the family of Daunte Wright, I am so sorry that I brought the death of your son, father, brother, uncle, grandson, nephew, and the rest of your family to your home," she said.

Kim Potter sentencing
Kim Potter. Court TV via AP

"Katie, I understand a mother's love," she continued. "Earlier, when you said that I didn't look at you during the trial, I don't believe I had a right to. I didn't even have a right to be in the same room with you. I am so sorry that I hurt you so badly. My heart is broken and devastated for all of you. I pray for Daunte and all of you many, many times a day."

"I do pray that one day you can find forgiveness, only because hatred is so destructive to all of us, and I pray that peace will always be with you and your family," Potter said. "Again, I am so sorry, and to the community of Brooklyn Center, I do owe you an apology too. I loved working for you, and I'm sorry for what has happened to our community since the death of Daunte. And the men and women who work for you still are good and honorable people who will work hard for you."

Potter was credited for the 58 days she already spent behind bars and will continue to serve the remainder of her 16 months in prison before she is released on probation.

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