BLACK LIVES SHOULD MATTER
Kim Potter Will Serve Only 2 Years After Killing a Black Man. An Utter Betrayal
Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center Police Officer, shot and killed 20-year old Daunte Wright in April of last year. Wright's family and the community demanded accountability, and prosecutors made their case. And, the jury found Potter guilty of manslaughter, which is extremely rare for American police officers. "About 1,000 fatal police shootings are reported each year in the US — so the arrest rate is around 1 percent, never higher than 2 percent." After the jury declared Potter guilty, many Americans felt more convinced that Black lives indeed matter, and the "no one is above the law" propaganda hit the streets with renewed vigor.
But that wave came crashing down on Friday when Judge Regina Chu sentenced Potter to serve only 24 months and pay a fine of $1,000, a move that feels like an utter betrayal of justice. According to 609.205, the Manslaughter in the Second Degree statute in Minnesota, someone may be sentenced to "imprisonment for not more than ten years or pay a fine of not more than $20,000 or both." In Potter's case, the judge gave her leniency; it's unclear why. Someone who claims they can't tell the difference between a taser or gun may pose a continued threat to society. Even after the guilty verdict, Potter never took responsibility for Wright's death.
Before the verdict, I wrote an article in Momentum called The Harm of Calling Daunte Wright's Death an Accident. It set a dangerous precedent that White officers could kill Black people and simply claim it was a mistake. "Oh, I thought I was grabbing my taser or billy club, or handcuffs" could become justification for murder, and that's precisely the argument Potter's defense team tried to make. White privilege taints the watering hole because I doubt that a Black citizen would be able to make the same statement after killing an officer. "Oh, my bad. I thought that was my cell phone I grabbed," would not fly with a jury or a judge.
Keep in mind Potter trained officers, just like Chauvin. We aren't talking about inexperienced rookies taking a Black person's life by misstep — these are veteran officers who know what…