Attorney General Ellison: ‘The work of justice continues’
Sentencing of Kimberly Potter ‘takes nothing away from the truth of the jury’s verdict’
Justice is ‘accountability, compassion, mercy, and healing’
February 18, 2022 (MINNEAPOLIS) — Attorney General Keith Ellison today issued the following statement after the sentencing of former Brooklyn Center police officer Kimberly Potter for the April 11, 2021 shooting death of Daunte Wright:
Today is a somber day.
Today is a somber day above all because Daunte Wright is not with us.
Daunte’s life mattered. He was a son, a father, a brother, a friend. He was a bright young man with big hopes and dreams for himself and Daunte Jr. He should have had his whole life ahead of him to turn those dreams into reality. Instead, there is a hole in the Wright family and in the life of his young son that can never be filled. Nothing and no one can restore their loss.
I send my deepest condolences again to his mother Katie, his father Aubrey, his son, his siblings, and everyone who loved him.
Judge Chu heard from the witnesses and attorneys on both sides. She read many letters on both sides, and she read and considered the evaluation and recommendations contained in the pre-sentence investigation.
I accept her judgment. I urge everyone to accept her judgment. I don’t ask you to agree with her decision, which takes nothing away from the truth of the jury’s verdict. I know it is hurtful to loved ones of Daunte Wright. I ask that we remember the beauty of Daunte Wright, to keep his memory in our hearts, and to know that no number of years in prison could ever capture the wonder of this young man’s life.
There is no cause for celebration: no one has won. We all have lost, none more than Daunte Wright and the people who love him. None of us ever wanted Kim Potter to recklessly pull the wrong weapon and kill Daunte Wright.
What can we do now?
We can talk. We can try to understand. We can change policy, and we can work together.
Can we come together to fix weapons confusion and prevent more deaths? I hope the jury’s guilty verdict will help. But there is so much more to do.
Everyone has a role to play in ending it: police officers, departments, manufacturers. Perhaps someday, Kim Potter might also be part of the solution.
Ms. Potter could make a powerful contribution. She could have a profound impact on police officers, departments, and manufacturers about the urgency of ending weapons confusion and saving lives. It will be up to her to show that she can do this with true remorse and make true amends. I hope she can.
If out of the tragic death of Daunte Wright, we can prevent any more deaths from weapons confusion, that would be a powerful legacy.
What more can we do?
Can we finally develop practices of use of force that keep all of us truly safe and make none of us afraid?
Can we finally transform the relationship between community and law enforcement into one of mutual respect and trust?
Can we finally create a justice system that does more than perpetuate the cycle of offense and punishment?
For the State’s part, we will continue our pursuit of equal justice. No one is above the law, and no one is beneath it. Accountability is the first step on the road to justice.
But justice is more than accountability. It is also compassion, mercy, and healing, both individual and generational. Healing allows us to see the humanity in each one of us — everyone included, no exceptions.
In the end, when great tragedy strikes, we must find the courage to carry on. We must continue to tell the truth and try to make a better, more just world than we have now. The work of justice continues.