SDS Demands Justice for Daunte Wright

SDS Demands Justice for Daunte Wright

On February 18th, 2022, the city of Minneapolis sentenced Kim Potter, the killer of 20-year-old Black youth, Daunte Wright, to only two years of prison time, with the possibility of early release after just one year. This flies in the face of her conviction as a murderer, the months of protests last year and a mass public outcry for justice. It has sparked fury and grief among the people of Minneapolis, in particular the Black community. The Wright family gave a press conference shortly afterward giving voice to these sentiments, saying that they felt “cheated” out of justice for their son.

This reduced sentence follows hot on the heels of yet another police killing in Minneapolis, this time of 22-year-old Black youth Amir Locke who was asleep when SWAT cops, with a no-knock warrant, burst in and took his life. Over 5,000 protesters, including SDSers, have already packed the streets despite the frigid weather to demand jail, prosecution and murder charges for the officers involved, who have not even yet been arrested.

On April 11th, 2021, nearly a year after Minneapolis cops killed George Floyd, Brooklyn center cops pulled over Daunte Wright for a traffic violation and proceeded to escalate the situation. Despite no harmful actions of any kind on Wright's part, the cops still shot him, chased him, and, in the case of Potter, killed him. Her defense has been that it was a mistake and she meant to pull out her taser instead; however, people who are not cops who commit manslaughter frequently do up to 15 years of prison time, not only one to two years. And it is clear that the cops were hostile, threatening, and violent towards Wright from the very beginning.

Meanwhile, millions of Black prisoners often see decades in prison for nonviolent offenses. More than that, over 33% of people sentenced to the death penalty in the United States are Black Americans, even though they constitute 14% of the population. This frequently happens with no evidence, let alone video recordings and witnesses as in Kim Potter's case.

National Students for a Democratic Society condemns this commuted sentence for the racist injustice that it is and demands the maximum 15-year sentence for the charges of manslaughter for which Potter has been convicted. Two years, one with early release, is not what people marched for. It is not enough to keep killer cop Potter off the streets. This decision on the heels of the murder of Amir Locke show that the city officials, courts, and cops have not yet learned their lesson, and it will still take people power to show them that Black lives matter and that the fight is not done. SDS joins the chorus of thousands of people demanding this full prison sentence, as it is the bare, meager minimum that the courts of Minneapolis could do for the Wright family.