Thousands gathered Thursday afternoon to celebrate the life of Botham “Bo” Shem Jean in the sanctuary of Greenville Avenue Church of Christ in Richardson. But undertones of hurt, and a demand of justice for Jean, were present.
Many spoke of Jean’s character and faith, and the family’s rearing of an “exemplary student, mentor and teacher,” but among the prayers and remarks were calls for justice.
The service comes at the time when many are poking holes in the claims of Amber Guyger the officer who killed Jean in his own apartment.
Shaun King tweeted a video that showed that the change in the story from the apartment door being closed and unlocked first, and then open, was impossible because all the apartment doors in the building were automatically shut.
“To hear that his door was open, he would never and have the lights off, he would never do that,” said Allisa Jean, Botham’s sister, in an interview shortly after his death.
“One of the things I would like is for Amber to come clean. Just surrender,” said Allison Jean, Botham’s mother.
Justice was, in part, preached from the pulpit during a eulogy delivered by Sammie Berry from Dallas West Church of Christ.
“That apartment complex, the state, the city, the police department, the community should take action,” Berry said to a standing ovation.
“If we need to take action, protests should be peaceful. I say that because that was Botham. He would do it peacefully.”
Botham’s uncle, a politician in St. Lucia, described the news of his death as a “nuke that has been unleashed by someone charged to protect”, and described the officer as having a “quick to trigger finger.”
A family friend, Dane Felicien, who spoke charged all to love and not overreact with deadly force.
“Botham Shem Jean was not a silhouette,” he said.
A standing ovation followed.
Jean received his bachelor’s degree in business administration, accounting, and management information systems from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., according to his LinkedIn page.
He started as an intern at PwC, later becoming an employee.
PwC U.S. Chairman and Senior Partner Tim Ryan was present at the funeral and talked about the effect Jean had on 55,000 people around the globe and that they would stand with the family while they search for accountability:
Ryan said that Jean has inspired people to change their actions to live like he did, and that he is now a “spark to help others care more, put aside their differences, understand each others experience.”
He additionally said that Botham was a hero, and a model for empathy and understanding, not violence.
“We stand with you as you find answers to why he was taken from us,” Ryan said.
Jean began working at PwC full-time right after the police shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in July 2016, and the company held talks about race.
The PwC Foundation has contributed toward the cost of Jean’s memorial service and the company will make a $50,000 contribution to a scholarship fund that Jean’s family established in the 26-year-old’s honor.
Representatives from the city of Dallas, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, County Judge Clay Jenkins, police chief Renee Hall, state representatives and senators were present at Jean’s funeral as well.