While first-degree manslaughter carries a maximum sentence of 15 years, second-degree manslaughter, which was her first charge, carries a maximum penalty of 10 years.
Activities and family members, however, were hoping for a murder charge. Jaylani Hussein, Executive Director of the Minnesota Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations and an activist on police violence issues, relayed the message from Wright’s family.
Hussein said the family knew the charge was coming, but they were “obviously disappointed” that it fell short of murder.
Potter said she meant to use her Taser instead of her handgun when she shot Wright, who was pulled over because he had air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. According to the amended complaint, however, Potter committed first-degree manslaughter by recklessly handling a firearm and endangering the safety of another during the incident in Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb.
The second-degree manslaughter count states the officer, who is white, acted with culpable negligence and took an unreasonable risk when she risked Wright’s life with her firearm.
As activists demanded a murder charge for the former officer following the shooting, Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison said he would conduct a thorough review to determine whether additional charges should be filed. After completing his review on Thursday, Ellison said an upgraded charge of first-degree manslaughter is warranted.
Local defense attorney Joe Friedberg said the case doesn’t merit a murder charge or an additional manslaughter charge.
“How can you intend to commit a reckless act? I don’t know. I’m sorry, that’s a political move,” he said. “This case is either second-degree manslaughter or it’s nothing.”
As Blavity previously reported, Potter was heard yelling “Taser! Taser! Taser!” before firing a handgun and screaming “Holy s**t! I shot him.”
The 20-year-old’s mother, Katie Wright, said her son called her and told her he was being pulled over for having air fresheners hanging from his rearview mirror. Katie also she could hear a scuffle break out and someone yelling, “Daunte, don’t run,” before the phone hung up.
When the mother called back a few minutes later, Wright’s girlfriend, a passenger in the car, said he had been shot.