MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Minnesota prosecutors have apparently backed away from their pursuit of a longer-than-usual sentence for the suburban Minneapolis police officer who stated she confused her handgun for her Taser when she killed Daunte Wright, a 20-year-old Black motorist.
Kim Potter, 49, is scheduled to be sentenced Friday following her December conviction of first-degree manslaughter. In a courtroom submitting this week, prosecutors stated a sentence of barely greater than seven years — which is the presumed penalty below the state’s tips — could be correct.
“The presumptive sentence takes into account the main elements of the conviction: the death of Daunte Wright and Defendant’s recklessness,” prosecutor Matt Frank wrote.
Potter’s attorneys are asking for lower than normal, together with solely probation. Frank wrote that prosecutors disagree with the protection, however “the State recognizes that this is a unique case given the context in which Defendant Potter recklessly handled her firearm.”
Potter was convicted of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter within the April 11 killing of Wright, who was pulled over by Brooklyn Center officers for having expired license plate tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror. Officers discovered he had an excellent warrant for a weapons possession cost, and he pulled away as they tried to arrest him.
Video exhibits that Potter shouted a number of instances that she was going to tase Wright, however she had her gun in her hand and fired one shot into his chest.
Under Minnesota statutes, Potter, who’s white, might be sentenced solely on probably the most critical conviction of first-degree manslaughter. State sentencing tips name for a penalty starting from barely greater than six years to about 8 1/2 years, with the presumptive sentence being simply over seven years. The sentencing tips are advisory, however judges can’t go above or under them except they discover a compelling cause.
Prosecutors initially argued that aggravating factors warranted a sentence above the rule vary. Among them, prosecutors stated Potter abused her authority as an officer and that her actions precipitated a greater-than-normal hazard to others.
There is not any indication within the courtroom file that they’ve formally withdrawn that argument, however the doc filed Tuesday signifies they’re taking a brand new strategy and now consider the presumptive sentence is acceptable.
Defense attorneys, in looking for a lighter sentence, have argued that Wright was the aggressor and that he could be alive if he had obeyed instructions.
In their request for probation solely, Potter’s attorneys stated she has no prior file, is remorseful, has had an exemplary profession and has the assist of household and buddies. They additionally stated her danger of committing the identical crime once more is low as a result of she is not a police officer, and so they stated she would do nicely on probation.
Prosecutors disagreed with the protection’s reasoning. In Tuesday’s filings, Frank wrote that to sentence Potter to solely probation, the choose must discover that probation would serve society’s pursuits, not Potter’s, and that the protection should set up that. But Frank additionally stated there may very well be some advantages to probation. Among them, Potter may converse to legislation enforcement teams or lawmakers about the dangers of confusing a handgun for a Taser.
Frank stated she may additionally converse to producers about making design adjustments to keep away from confusion. And, he stated, she may acknowledge her failure and attempt to assist the neighborhood heal to “honor the memory of Daunte Wright.”
“No jail sentence can carry Daunte Wright again to life. A jail sentence is only a quantity, and that quantity can’t undo this tragedy or carry Daunte Wright again to his household,” Frank wrote. “Fostering healing and community restoration is valuable too.” =
Frank also disagreed with defense arguments that Potter should be given a sentence that goes below the guideline range.
If the court finds that Potter’s case is less serious than the typical first-degree manslaughter case, he wrote, the court should issue a sentence between four and slightly over seven years, the presumptive sentences for second-degree and first-degree manslaughter.
“To impose anything less would fail to take into account Daunte Wright’s death and the jury’s finding that Defendant Potter committed first-degree manslaughter,” Frank wrote.
In Minnesota, it’s presumed that convicts who show good behavior will serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison and the rest on supervised release, commonly known as parole. That means if Potter gets the roughly seven-year presumptive sentence, she would serve about four years and nine months behind bars, with the rest on parole.
Potter has been at the state’s women’s prison in Shakopee since the guilty verdict.
Find the AP’s full coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright