A former Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, police officer was sentenced to 24 months in prison for the manslaughter of Daunte Wright on Friday, with a judge rejecting arguments from prosecutors that she deserved a harsher sentence for the accidental shooting.
Kim Potter was convicted of shooting Wright in December.
In April, the officer drew her service firearm while attempting to arrest the 20-year-old Wright, who had an outstanding warrant for a weapons charge and had been pulled over for expired registration. Potter had meant to draw her Taser, only to shoot Wright with the lethal weapon.
Potter is expected to serve 16 months in prison, with the remaining 8 months to be served on house arrest, according to USA Today.
Judge Regina Chu explained during the proceedings that the accidental nature of Wright’s death merited a lighter sentence.
“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 said.
“She never intended to hurt anyone. Her conduct cries out for a sentence significantly below the guidelines.”
Chu even went on to describe Potter as “extremely remorseful” and said she “does not present a danger of future crimes.”
The judge said she had received hundreds of letters in support of Potter that “paint a portrait of a woman who touched a lot of people in a good way.”
One juror described the case as a tragic accident, even going so far as to recognize Potter as a “good person” and a “good cop.”
Prosecutors had sought a more stringent sentence in the shooting. Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison had called for a prison sentence of more than seven years, Axios reported.
Speaking before her sentencing, Potter gave Wright’s family a tearful apology.
“I am so sorry that I brought the death of your son,” she told Katie Wright, Daunte’s mother. “Katie, I understand a mother’s love, and I am sorry I broke your heart. My heart is broken for all of you.”
Katie Wright said the family was “very disappointed” in Chu’s ruling.
“I will never be able to forgive you for what you’ve stolen from us,” she said to Potter.
Potter had served as a police officer for more than 25 years before her arrest.