MINNEAPOLIS – A prison intake photo of Kim Potter that showed her smiling widely after she was convicted of manslaughter in Daunte Wright's death flared up at her sentencing Friday, with Wright's mother saying it showed Potter wasn't genuinely sorry for his death.
Potter's attorney said no disrespect was intended and Potter was simply doing as instructed by the prison staff.
Katie Wright brought up the mug shot as she addressed the court. Potter, then a Brooklyn Center police officer, said she confused her handgun for her Taser when she fatally shot Wright last April. A jury convicted her in December.
Katie Wright said Potter never looked at her and other Wright family members as they passed in the hallway during the trial, and when she testified, expressed sorrow only after a break where she “had time to be coached on how to gain some sort of sympathy from the jury.”
“How do you show remorse when you’re smiling in your mug shot after being sentenced to manslaughter? After taking my son’s life? How do you say you’re sorry with no tears?” Katie Wright said.
Damik Bryant, Daunte Wright's brother, also called the mug shot “painful” and urged the judge to impose a “strong sentence.”
Defense attorney Paul Engh began his remarks by responding to the Wright family's anger.
“There’s no disrespect intended to the booking photograph," he said. "Ms. Potter indicates they asked her to smile, she smiled. It was not meant to be disrespectful, it was in response to the prison’s request.”
When Potter was given a chance later to address the court, she addressed the Wright family directly, saying she was “so sorry that I brought the death of your son." She also told Katie Wright that she felt she didn't believe she “had a right to” look at her during the trial.
“I understand a mother’s love, and I’m sorry I broke your heart," Potter said.
Potter is white. Wright, who was Black, was killed after Brooklyn Center officers pulled him over for having expired license tags and an air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror.
Judge Regina Chu later sentenced Potter to two years, well below prosecutors' request, saying that mitigating factors warranted it.
Find the AP’s full coverage of the Daunte Wright case: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-daunte-wright