Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who is white, fatally shot a 26-year-old Black man, Botham Jean, in his own apartment on Thursday, claiming she entered what she thought was her own home.
After killing Jean, Guyger, age 30, was put on leave for three days before her arrest on Sunday. The Jean family lawyers protested Guyger’s freedom, and announced right before she was arrested that they had a witness and video footage.
On Thursday, Jean’s door was unlocked but there was also a red mat outside his door and a light that lit up his apartment number. Guyger had recently moved into the South Side Flats building in the Cedars and she went to the floor above her own.
When she entered the apartment, that had the lights off, she saw a figure in the dark and, according to the official, thought she was being burglarized and pulled her gun and fired twice.
Guyger called 911 crying and apologized to Jean according to the 911 recording: “I thought it was my apartmentI’m so sorry.”
Two residents that live near Jean’s apartment said they heard a lot of noise Thursday:
“It was, like, police talk: ‘Open up! Open up!'” 20-year-old Caitlin Simpson said.
Yazmine Hernandez, 20, was studying with Simpson when they heard the commotion. “We heard cops yelling,” she said, “but, otherwise, had no idea what was going on.”
Benjamin Crump, who has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, is representing the Jean family. S. Lee Merritt, one of the lawyers, said the family wanted Guyger “to be treated like every other citizen, and where there is evidence that they’ve committed a crime, that there’s a warrant to be issued and an arrest to be made.”
Allison Jean, Botham’s mother, said she wondered whether the outcome would have been different if her son hadn’t been Black.
“I don’t want to judge her. We are Christians. We forgive,” she said. “But I need to look into her eyes and ask her why did she do that to my son.
“She took away my heart. My soul. He didn’t deserve to die.”
Police Chief U. Renee Hall said they initially sought manslaughter charges, but delayed it because they received new information by Saturday that they wanted to investigate further. Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings tweeted a statement Sunday night, offering prayers and thanking the community for respecting the investigation.
Guyger was taken to Kaufman County Jail on Sunday, but was released on bond, according to Dallas News reports.
Since 2005, only 33 law enforcement officers have been convicted of a crime resulting from an on-duty shooting where someone was killed and Roy Oliver, who killed 15 year old Jordan Edwards, a Black teen, is only the second to be convicted of murder, said Philip Stinson, an associate professor of criminology at Ohio’s Bowling Green State University.
A vigil was held for Jean, a Bible study leader, Harding University graduate, and a PwC employee, where protests for ending the special treatment of police officers were a part of honoring him.