ACLU Statement on Kim Potter Guilty Verdict
MINNEAPOLIS — A jury has found former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter guilty of 1st-degree manslaughter and 2nd-degree manslaughter in the killing of Daunte Wright.
The following statement can be attributed to Brandon Buskey, director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform project:
“The story of Daunte Wright is heartbreakingly familiar. A young black man was killed on the side of the road by an overzealous police officer after being pulled over for a minor traffic offense. Police interactions with citizens shouldn’t end in death, and yet hundreds are dying at the hands of the police every year. While today’s verdict provides a rare glimpse of accountability in an instance of police violence, what we need is justice. And real justice means that these situations do not happen in the first place.
“Police violence like this will persist so long as police continue to serve their original purpose — to act as an occupying force for social control in oppressed communities. The ACLU will continue to fight alongside our allies throughout the country to reimagine a world where Black and other marginalized people like Daunte Wright are free to live a life without the fear of racialized violence.”
The following statement can be attributed to Ben Feist, interim executive director of the ACLU of Minnesota:
“Today, for only the second time in state history, a white police officer has been held accountable for killing a Black man. The jury found former Brooklyn Center police officer Kim Potter guilty on all counts for killing Daunte Wright during a routine and unnecessary traffic stop. We thank the jury for the care and seriousness with which it approached this grueling case.
“While we can finally say Daunte Wright’s name in conjunction with a moment of justice, let’s be absolutely clear that achieving this outcome for Daunte Wright is only the first step. That a guilty verdict of this kind remains so rare shows the need for much greater accountability from police, and for an end to police violence and disparate treatment of Black and Brown communities. We must remove armed police from enforcing traffic infractions and low-level offenses such as dangling air fresheners and expired tabs, pretextual stops that too often end in violence and death against people of color.
“It is a continuing national disgrace that Mr. Wright was one of the more than 1,100 people killed by police across the nation each year. Mr. Wright should still be alive today, and so should George Floyd, Philando Castile, Breonna Taylor, and countless other Black people killed by police.
“The city where he was killed, Brooklyn Center, is taking steps to fix its broken police department. In honor of Daunte Wright, we will monitor that effort and keep fighting for real change in his name across our state and nation.”
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