The Sunday Subject – February 20, 2022

Welcome to Subject’s weekly news roundup. We present you the essential headlines, local and beyond.

Former police officer Kim Potter has been sentenced to two years in prison for killing Duante Wright.

Potter fatally shot Wright during a traffic stop near Minneapolis after drawing a gun instead of a Taser. Jurors convicted Potter on two counts of manslaughter in December, finding that she acted recklessly. While two years is considered far less than the standard of about seven years for manslaughter, Judge Regina M. Chu stated that leniency was warranted because she meant to fire her Taser and not her gun. Arbuey Wright, Duante Wright’s father, stated, “They were so tied up into her feelings and what’s going on with her that they forgot about my son being killed. We actually thought we were going to get a little justice.” It is rare for police officers to be convicted and sentenced to prison for killing people.

The Working Families Party has endorsed Jumaane Williams for governor.

“Jumaane has been a champion for working New Yorkers since day one. We can count on him to fight for affordable housing, health care for all, and excellent schools,” said the New York Working Families Party in a statement on Twitter last week. The progressive activist, Public Advocate of New York City, and former New York City councilman and organizer will challenge incumbent governor Kathy Hochul in the Democratic primary. India Walton, former candidate for mayor of Buffalo, has also endorsed Williams, stating, “No one in New York State should have to worry about where they’re sleeping at night because they can’t afford housing. No one should have to die because they don’t have health care. In one of the wealthiest states in the country, everyone should be fed, sheltered, and cared for. That’s the New York that Jumaane Williams is ready to build.”

New York Democrats gathered Thursday in Manhattan for the New York Democratic Convention.

According to party and campaign sources, the plan for the convention, besides endorsing the Democrats’ 2022 slate, was to convey a sense of unity in backing incumbent Kathy Hochul for governor. In attendance were local politicians Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, Rep. Brian Higgins, Assembly Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, and several other state legislators. Sources state Hochul is expected to use the convention as a springboard to fully dive into campaigning once the state budget is adopted in April.

Officials have announced that Buffalo will be one of thirty-four cities across the county to take part in a new Drug Enforcement Administration initiative designed to curb the rise of drug overdoses and gun violence.

The federal operation will involve working with state and local law enforcement agencies to target criminal drug networks believed to be responsible for the highest levels of overdoses and violence. According to officials, there has been a rise in fentanyl trafficking in Buffalo and upstate New York. Drug trafficking and gun violence are typically linked, and over the last two years both the number of homicides and people shot in Buffalo have increased by more than 30%.

President Biden has stated that he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin has made up his mind on starting a “War of Choice.”

Biden cited US intelligence, which he believes shows Putin has already decided to invade Ukraine in what would be a “catastrophic and needless” war. European allies of the US remain less sure of Putin’s intentions. While Biden implored Putin to choose diplomacy, he stated he thinks the attack could happen in a matter of days.