Social Media Calls Guilty Verdict in Daunte Wright Killing ‘Bittersweet’

Kim Potter and Daunte Wright (Court TV/Family Photo)

A Minnesota jury has found former police officer Kim Potter guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Daunte Wright during a traffic stop.

When the verdict was read Thursday, Potter looked down without showing any visible reaction, the Associated Press reported. 

During her testimony, Potter insisted she “didn’t want to hurt anybody.” The former officer maintained she meant to grab her Taser, but instead grabbed her handgun by mistake and fired.

Potter, who is white, fatally shot Wright, 20, who was Black. The shooting occurred during a traffic stop in April after she and other officers tried to arrest Wright for an outstanding warrant on a weapons possession charge.

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The AP reports the mostly white jury watched videos from police body cameras and dashboard. 

In one of the videos, Potter could be heard saying, “(Expletive)! I just shot him.…I grabbed the wrong (expletive) gun.” She continued in the video, “I’m going to go to prison.” 

After the guilty verdict, civil rights attorneys, celebrities and others reacted on social media.

The law office of famed civil rights attorney Ben Crump, who represented the Wright family along with attorneys Antonio Romanucci and Jeff Storms, released a statement on Twitter.

“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,” the statement said.

“If we are going to restore the confidence of Black and marginalized Americans in law enforcement, we need to have accountability, and a commitment to listening and 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 systematic failures that contributed to Daunte’s unlawful death,” the statement concluded. 

CNN contributor Van Jones also reacted to the verdict and tweeted: “Another bittersweet victory. We still see way too many “accidents” — to say nothing of blatant violations of policy — in too many departments. I pray that the message of this verdict is heeded where it needs to be.”

The American Civil Liberties Union tweeted: “For the second time in Minnesota state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man.”

PBS Washington Week host Yamiche Alcindor tweeted: “Thinking about Daunte Wright’s family and especially his mom who Daunte called right before his death. Praying they get some peace.”

Potter was taken into custody shortly after the verdict came in. She will be sentenced in February and since she has no prior criminal history. According to media report, Minnesota guidelines recommend a sentence between six and eight and a half years in prison.