Kim Potter, the Minnesota police officer who mistook her gun for a Taser and killed Wright in 2021, was released after 16 months in prison.
US police officer Kim Potter who mistook his gun for a Taser and killed Daunte Wright in 2021 has been released.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections said Porter was released at around 4:00 a.m. local time (09:00 GMT) on Monday, an unannounced time chosen “out of an abundance of caution.”
The department confirmed Friday that she would be released on Monday, but declined to say when, citing security concerns.
Porter, a white officer with the Brooklyn Center Police Department in the Minneapolis suburb, shot and killed Wright, a black man, during a traffic stop in April 2021.
The shooting came during the trial of Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis police officer who killed George Floyd, and Wright’s death sparked days of protests.
Porter was released from Shakopee Correctional Institution in Minnesota and will be released under supervision until Dec. 21, when her two-year sentence for manslaughter expires.
Correctional Services spokesman Andy Skoogman said in a release that Porter will live in Wisconsin during his supervised release.
Minnesota law requires those sent to prison to serve two-thirds of their sentence in prison and the rest while on supervised release, Skoogman said. In Potter’s case, she served 16 months of the two-year sentence.
“Sentences are set by law; there’s no parole board and no time to behave well,” Skogman said.
Judge Regina Chu’s decision drew strong criticism from Wright’s family and her attorney, civil rights attorney Ben Crump. The state attorney general’s office is seeking a sentence of just over seven years in prison recommended under state guidelines.
Wright’s mother, Katie Wright, said Porter “murdered my son” after the sentencing, adding: “The justice system murdered him again today.”
Defense attorneys argued at the sentencing hearing that Porter deserved clemency because Wright attempted to drive away and Porter had the right to defend himself.
Judge Zhu said at the time that the case was different from other high-profile killings, including Floyd’s death that resulted in Chauvin’s 22.5-year sentence.
“This is a police officer who made a tragic mistake,” she said.
Wright, a 20-year-old father, was killed on April 11, 2021, after Brooklyn Center officials pulled him over for having an expired driver’s license sticker and air freshener hanging from his rearview mirror .
Police found him with a warrant for misdemeanor possession of a weapon charge, and he was shot during a struggle by officers trying to arrest him.
Laws against hanging objects from rearview mirrors have been used as an excuse to stop black motorists, civil rights advocates say.
As Wright attempted to drive away from traffic, Porter yelled “taser” multiple times before firing the gun.
Porter, who has been a police officer for 26 years, apologized to Wright’s family at the sentencing and said directly to his mother: “Katie, I understand a mother’s love. I’m sorry I broke your heart…my heart is for you.” you all shall be broken and destroyed.”