A district judge, who sentenced former Minneapolis police officer Kim Potter to two years in prison for fatally shooting Daunte Wright last April, has been accused by the victim’s mother of being swayed by “white woman tears.”
Hennepin County District Judge Regina Chu, who is Asian American, delivered the sentence on Friday after what Wright’s mother, Katie, described as a “coached” performance by Potter.
“Katie, I understand a mother’s love, and I am sorry I broke your heart,” said Potter, who is white, according to the Associated Press. “My heart is broken for all of you.”
Potter was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter for the killing of Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, in December.
The incident dates back to a police encounter on April 11, when Wright was pulled over at the Brooklyn Center for having an expired license plate and an air freshener hanging from his car’s rear view mirror, which was a violation of Minnesota law. Amid a struggle, Potter erroneously pulled her gun instead of her Taser and shot Wright in the chest.
Potter’s two-year sentence reportedly falls below state guidelines, but Chu deemed it appropriate, as Potter was “in the line of duty and doing her job in attempting to lawfully arrest Daunte Wright.”
Chu said the evidence that Potter did not intend to use her firearm was “undisputed” and distinguished her case from those of Derek Chauvin and Mohamed Noor.
“This is not a cop found guilty of murder for using his knee to pin down a person for 9 1/2 minutes as he gasped for air,” Chu said, according to AP. “This is not a cop found guilty of manslaughter for intentionally drawing his firearm and shooting across his partner and killing an unarmed woman who approached his squad.
“This is a cop who made a tragic mistake. She drew her firearm thinking it was a Taser and ended up killing a young man.”
Chu also pointed out that police officers have the most difficult jobs in public service, saying, “They must make snap decisions under tense, evolving and ever-changing circumstances.”
Wright’s mother, who is also white, accused Judge Chu of being swayed by Potter’s display of emotions.
“This is the problem with our justice system today,” she said, as per the Associated Press. “White women tears trump — trump — justice. And I thought my white woman tears would be good enough because they’re true and genuine.”
Katie joined a small protest on Friday evening outside a downtown building, which the demonstrators believe included Chu’s home.