Wright, mother, father, brother, sister and mother of his son each took the stand on Friday to plead with and demand of the court that Potter is sentenced to the harshest penalty possible.
The 49-year-old former Brooklyn Center officer was facing up to 25 years in prison after a jury in December found her guilty of first-degree and second-degree manslaughter. First-degree manslaughter is a felony that is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine as high as $30,000. Second-degree manslaughter is also a felony with a possible prison sentence of up to 10 years and a maximum fine of $20,000.
Prosecutors had recommended more than seven years in prison for Potter, whose smiling mugshot following her conviction belied the alleged teary remorse she expressed on the witness stand during her trial.
It was in that context that Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother, delivered her victim impact statement first in Hennepin County Court. Katie Wright said she would only refer to Potter as “the defendant” and “not give her the respect of calling her by her name” because the ex-cop “referred to Daunte over and over again as ‘the driver’” while testifying in her own defense.
Katie Wright said that only served “to demonize” her son.
“She never once said his name and for that I will never be able to forgive you,” Katie Wright said to Potter, who was seated just a few feet away. “And I’ll never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us.”
Referring to Potter’s purported confusion between a Taser and gun when she killed Daunte, Katie Wright appealed to the court to give the former cop the maximum sentence.
“We can’t afford to have the defendant make any more mistakes,” Katie Wright said before adding: “Your honor, I’m asking you to hold the defendant to the highest accountability.”
Noting that police are paid to protect and serve, Katie Wright said Potter “failed Daunte” by not rendering aid to her son after shooting him and allowing him to bleed to death for more than five minutes.
Daunte’s mother compared the feeling she experiences daily since her son’s death to “a sinking feeling that a mother gets when she turns around and sees her child is missing in a grocery store.”
Referring to “driving while Black” as a “death sentence,” Katie Wright told Potter, “You should have done better!”
Daunte’s father, Aubrey Wright, took the stand next and blamed his son’s killing on “Kim’s recklessness.”
While asking the court to give Potter the maximum sentence, Daunte’s father said whatever time she serves will be “incomparable to the life sentence we [as a family] have.”
Daunte’s older brother, Damik Bryant, delivered his victim impact statement next and pointed out the irony that his brother’s death came at the hands of someone who was a field training officer. After reciting a poem dedicated to Daunte, Damik Bryant said he wanted Potter to receive “a strong sentence” in prison.
Diamond Wright, Daunte’s second-youngest sister, said she still believes that Potter should have been charged with murder. Daunte’s sister said his death prompted her to fall into a deep state of depression and told the court that her bi-racial family had previously wondered, “Maybe we have enough white in us to not be a threat to police.”
Diamond Wright told the court, “The defendant should be sentenced to the highest extent. You can’t tell me this was an accident.” She punctuated her victim impact statement by saying, “This is sickening.”
Finally, Chyna Whitaker, the mother of Daunte’s son, took the stand to run down the list of ways in which the killing has upended her life.
“I now suffer from severe PTSD whenever I’m pulled over,” Whitaker said. “I have extreme anxiety, afraid of making a mistake and having something going wrong.”
She also said her now-2-year-old-son “senses his dad being gone” and, as a result, has been displaying behavioral issues.
“It’s only fair that Kim Potter be sentenced to the maximum amount of time for executing Daunte,” Whitaker said.
This is a developing story that will be updated.