Law Enforcement /

Former Minnesota Police Officer Kim Potter Released from Prison ‘Out of An Abundance of Caution’

Potter was convicted of manslaughter after shooting Duante Wright with a gun instead of a taser

The former Minnesota Police officer who killed Duante Wright after pulling her gun instead of a Taser during a traffic stop has been released from prison.

Kim Potter served 16 months of her two-year sentence for first- and second-degree manslaughter. At the time of the incident, Potter was a police officer in Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis. The sequestered jury deliberated for over 27 hours before returning the verdicts. 

The Minnesota Department of Corrections said the decision to release the former police officer was made “out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Ms. Potter, DOC staff and the security of the correctional facility.” DOC criminal intelligence analysts reportedly obtained evidence of “threatening comments directed at her and the potential for violent protests outside the Shakopee correctional facility.”

“Based on the intelligence we gathered, we released Ms. Potter at a time we felt was safest for her and for everyone at the correctional facility,” DOC spokesperson Andy Skoogman said in a statement.

Potter entered prison in December 2021. She will serve the remainder of her sentence on supervised release in Wisconsin as part of the Interstate Commission for Adult Offender Supervision compact

The term of imprisonment is set by law; there is no parole board and no time off for good behavior,” the DOC noted.

Potter shot Wright during a traffic stop on April 11, 2021 where officers attempted to arrest the 20-year-old for an outstanding weapons charge. During the arrest, Wright tried to get back into his vehicle. Her trial was held in the same courtroom where former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of the 2020 death of George Floyd. 

Potter testified during her trial that Wright’s death was an accident and that she feared for the safety of Sergeant Mychael Johnson, who was engaged in a physical altercation with Wright from the passenger side of the vehicle. She called the interaction “chaotic,” per NBC News.

Prosecutors showed body camera footage of the shooting and argued Potter held her Glock, which is twice the weight of a Taser, for at least five seconds before firing. Video recording of the attempted arrest captured Potter yelling “Taser!” several times before firing her weapon.

Judge Regina Chu, who oversaw the trial, said the case was not comparable to the case involving Chauvin, who was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison. 

“This is a cop who made a tragic mistake,” she said in court, per KOMO News

Her supervised release is scheduled to end on Dec. 21. 

Wright’s family received a $3.25 million settlement from the city of Brooklyn Center in March after a tentative agreement was reached in June of 2022.

“Nothing can explain or fill the emptiness in our lives without Daunte or our continued grief at the senseless way he died,” said Wright’s parents, Katie and Aubrey, in a statement to KSTP.  “But in his name, we will move forward, and it was important to us that his loss be used for positive change in the community, not just for a financial settlement for our family.”

“We hope Black families, people of color, and all residents feel safer now in Brooklyn Center because of the changes the city must make to resolve our claims,” they added. 

Wright’s son is set to receive $2 million of the settlement.

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