Protesters in Minneapolis on Friday called for harsher punishment for former Minnesota police officer Kim Potter, who was sentenced to two years behind bars in the shooting death of Duante Wright, and while the demonstrations were peaceful, police confirmed several looting incidents later in the day and looters in the area.
Potter was convicted of first- and second-degree manslaughter in the April 2021 killing of Wright, and on Friday was sentenced by Judge Regina Chu to two years in prison.
While the state recommended Potter receive a seven-year sentence, Chu argued that this was a case of a”cop who made a tragic mistake” in drawing her firearm instead of a Taser during a chaotic traffic stop and that Potter had expressed remorse.
Wright’s family called Chu’s decision to issue a two-year sentence a “slap in the face,” according to WCCO-TV of Minneapolis.
Potter apologized to Wright’s family, then spoke directly to his mother, saying, “Katie, I understand a mother’s love. I’m sorry I broke your heart. … my heart is broken and devastated for all of you.”
Wright’s mother said after the sentencing that Potter “murdered my son,” adding, “today the justice system murdered him all over again.” according to The Associated Press.
She later joined a group of around 100 protesters chanting and shouting outside a condominium complex in downtown Minneapolis, where they believed the judge lived.
Video from the scene shared by Adam Duxter, a reporter for WCCO-TV, showed people chanting, “no good judge in a racist system!”
While the protests were peaceful, police confirmed that, at around 8:30 p.m. later that day, looters had targeted a beauty supply store, according to WCCO-TV.
“This ‘Icon Beauty Supply’ store was partially looted within the last hour here in Brooklyn Center. Owners called for help and it is now being boarded up,” said independent reporter Rebecca Brannon in a post on Twitter, in which she shared a video showing the aftermath of the incident, with signs of forced entry and broken glass littering the ground outside, and items strewn on the floor inside the damaged business.
Police told WCCO-TV that there were also reports of looters in the area.
The CrimeWatchMpls account said on Twitter: “Report of multiple people breaking into Burlington Coat Factory 21xx E Lake St. Police arriving, saying a bunch of people are taking off,” with the message bearing a 10:16 p.m. timestamp.
In a separate post, CrimeWatchMpls cited police as saying that security personnel at an East Lake St. business said “looters were shooting into the air,” with the account adding it had received information from security at another business on East Lake St. who had to draw their guns on a group of looters.
The CrimeWatchMpls account later cited Ramsey County Sheriff Bob Fletcher saying that a Boost Mobile store had been burglarized and that there were people out scouting the area for looting opportunities, checking for police, and notifying people on a number of live feeds that there was no law enforcement around.
Independent reporter Andy Ngo shared Brannon’s video in a Twitter post, adding the comment: “People on social media had earlier called for looting and rioting as revenge for Kim Potter’s two-year sentence.”