Two years for Kim Potter, a former Brooklyn Center, Minn, policewoman convicted last December of first-and-second-degree manslaughter, for the killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright is “lopsided and unjust,” Rev. Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. said Friday.
Juxtaposing Potter’s sentence to that of former Chicago policeman Jason Van Dyke, convicted of second-degree murder and 16 counts of aggravated battery, who killed 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, Rev. Jackson said his sentence of 6 years and 9 months did not fit the crime.
“Too few perpetrators of violence receive justice. Shooting black people in cold blood is wrong and inhuman and it must not become normalized,” said Rev. Jackson.
Agreeing with Rev. Jackson, Bishop Tavis Grant, the national field director for the Rainbow PUSH Coalition, said he was “extremely disappointed” in Potter’s two-year sentence and a fine of $1,000 saying “racial bias had a lot to do with it, and it’s almost like Jason Van Dyke but worse. To have taken this family (the Wright’s) through this” did not give them the justice they were seeking. Potter said she mistook her gun for a Taser. She was facing six years to 8 1/2 years.
Potter’s sentence, Grant said, “drives home the need for us to work harder, to fight longer and refuse to give in. The complexities of criminal justice reform do not just start and stop with law enforcement. It is in the judiciary, in the legislature, in public policy, and it goes all the way to the White House. We have to go all the way in our quest of achieving equal justice under the law.”
On Potter receiving a two-year sentence, Bishop Grant said, “These are individuals by and large who swim in the same body of water,” Grant said referring to the prosecution, the criminal defensive attorneys, the bailiff, the judge, the sheriff departments and persons in the Department of Corrections.”
Bishop Grant was referring to Van Dyke who was “moved around” from different prisons “and with privilege until he finished his sentence.
“We got to peel this back layer-by-layer and actually take on the responsibility of reform and reconstructed criminal justice so that all defendants are treated the same and the verdict and sentences should be in the balance without their being a miscarriage of race or influence of one’s status in society,” stated Bishop Grant.
Under Minnesota guidelines for those with felony convictions, Potter could be released in 16 months. She will get credit for 58 days she spent in custody.
Van Dyke served three years and four months of his 81-month sentence. Bishop Grant described both sentences “a miscarriage of justice.”
Rainbow PUSH Coalition is a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international organization that was formed in December 1996 by the Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr. through merging of two organizations he founded Operation PUSH People United to Serve Humanity (estab. 1971) and the Rainbow Coalition (estab. 1984). With headquarters in Chicago and offices in Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Detroit, Houston, Los Angeles, New York and Oakland, the organization works to make the American Dream a reality for all citizens while advocating for peace and justice around the world. RPC is dedicated to improving the lives of all people by serving as a voice for the voiceless. Its mission is to protect, defend and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields while promoting peace and justice around the world.