The killing of Daunte Wright

Former officer Kimberly Potter released from prison after serving 16 months for killing Daunte Wright

a woman listens to a verdict in court
Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter listens as Judge Regina Chu reads the guilty verdict in her manslaughter trial on Dec. 23. Potter is scheduled to leave Shakopee prison on Monday.
Screenshot via Court TV | 2021

Updated: 6:20 a.m.

Former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter, who killed Daunte Wright in 2021, was released from prison in Shakopee early Monday.

The Minnesota Department of Corrections said in a news release that Potter was released at 4 a.m. “out of an abundance of caution for the safety of Ms. Potter, DOC staff and the security of the correctional facility.”

Potter will serve the remaining months of her sentence on supervised release in Wisconsin. The Minnesota Department of Corrections said Potter is expected to complete her sentence on Dec. 21.

She has served 16 months of a 2-year manslaughter sentence, which is lower than recommended in state sentencing guidelines.

The 50-year-old former officer shot and killed 20-year-old Wright during a traffic stop April 11, 2021 in a residential area of Brooklyn Center. His vehicle was stopped for having expired license tabs and an air freshener dangling from the rearview mirror.

Initially, Wright complied with officers’ orders, but then tried to drive away when he was told he would be arrested for a misdemeanor firearms warrant.

Potter, a 26-year law enforcement veteran, said she mistakenly used her gun instead of her Taser to try to stop Wright from leaving the scene. Wright, the father of a 2-year-old, was shot once in the chest. A passenger in Wright’s car was injured in the subsequent crash.

The killing took place while the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was underway under heavy security. Chauvin was later convicted of murdering George Floyd in 2020. Wright’s death sparked protests and an effort for public safety reform in Brooklyn Center, which borders Minneapolis.

People gather outside for a vigil.
A nephew of Daunte Wright rides a bike during a one-year anniversary gathering in honor of Wright, who was shot and killed in 2021 by former Brooklyn Center officer Kimberly Potter.
Tim Evans for MPR News 2022

The City of Brooklyn Center approved a $3.25 million settlement for Wright's family in the shooting last summer.

After Wright’s killing, Brooklyn Center officials moved to change some police procedures, such as requiring officers to issue citations for misdemeanors and note more details about arrests.  But a commission appointed to recommend major changes in public safety has not yet made public recommendations for an overhaul.

In its Monday morning news release, the Minnesota Department of Corrections said its staff had “obtained information that elevated concerns” about Potter’s safety and the potential for “violent protests” outside the Shakopee facility, but did not elaborate further.

The department said Minnesota is part of an interstate compact that “provides states the authority, accountability and resources to provide correctional supervision for those who move across state lines.”

Authorities in Wisconsin, where Potter will serve the reminder of her sentence on supervised release, will be responsible for ensuring she complies with conditions. Those conditions include a requirement that Potter “must refrain from purchasing, possessing, accessing or controlling any type of firearm, ammunition, or dangerous weapon.”

She can’t leave the state of Wisconsin without written approval from authorities there.

A call to Potter’s attorneys was not returned.

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