Guyger, Kemp, Bible
Judge Tammy Kemp gave Amber Guyger — found guilty of fatally shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment — a hug and a Bible at her sentencing. Kemp came under fire for both possibly breaching the separation between church and state and giving Guyger preferential treatment. (Photo: screenshot via Law & Crime footage)

Judge Tammy Kemp of Amber Guyger Trial Faces Backlash for Hugging Guyger, Gifting Her Bible

Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger’s shooting of Black man Botham Jean, after she allegedly mistook his apartment for her own and him as an intruder, has sparked grief and outrage. However, her emotional trial and sentencing have sparked even more controversy. Judge Tammy Kemp is now coming under fire for gifting Guyger a Bible at her sentencing. The Freedom of Religion Foundation filed a complaint against Kemp, saying she overstepped her boundaries as a person representing the U.S. government.

Related Story: Trial of Amber Guyger Continues, Questions of Preferential Treatment Arise

At the end of Guyger’s trial, Guyger received a hug from Kemp after Jean’s brother, Brandt Jean, offered her forgiveness and a hug amid his testimony.

Related Story: Botham Jean’s Killer Amber Guyger Sentenced to 10 Years in Prison

As Kemp gave Guyger the Bible, she said, “This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. It says right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start. ‘For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life …'”

The Freedom of Religion Foundation claimed Kemp crossed a line from using her faith as a private citizen to show compassion, to using her power as a government employee to coercively evangelize.

“We, too, believe our criminal justice system needs more compassion from judges and prosecutors,” the complaint said. “But here, compassion crossed the line into coercion. And there can be few relationships more coercive than a sentencing judge in a criminal trial and a citizen accused and convicted of a crime.”

The Foundation is asking for an investigation into the matter.

The compassion Guyger was met with was moving to some, but Kemp, Jean and Guyger’s emotional embraces had many asking whether a Black person charged with murdering a white woman would have the same treatment.

When a video emerged of a Black bailiff stroking Guyger’s hair after she was found guilty, more people spoke out on the affectionate, kind treatment she received, while Kemp defended the bailiff, saying she was simply checking Guyger’s hair for contraband because she had spent the night in jail.

In an interview with CNN, Kemp said she did not believe she would be getting criticized for hugging Guyger if Guyger were Black.

The issue is if Guyger were Black, she likely would not have gotten the same merciful treatment at all.

Cyntoia Brown, who was tried as an adult at 16 for killing a man who tried to rape her after being trafficked and abused by a pimp — served a 15-year prison sentence, no hugs or Bibles offered. Guyger’s sentence is only 10 years.

Related Story: Cyntoia Brown is Free After Spending 15 Years in Prison

Statistically, Black people receive sentences that are around 10% longer than those of white people convicted of similar crimes, according to a study by the University of Michigan Law School.

With Joshua Brown, the key witness in the trial, being ambushed and shot over the weekend, discussions about the preferential treatment Guyger received amid these violent deaths continue.

Related Story: Key Witness in Conviction of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, Joshua Brown, Shot Dead

Latest News

TIAA Logo

TIAA: Standing Together for Change

Originally published on TIAA.org. To our clients: Like so many of you, we at TIAA, TIAA Bank and Nuveen are grieving over the recent senseless and tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery. We are pained by these innocent lives cut short. Yet we are heartened by…

Cigna Expands and Extends it’s COVID-10 Relief Efforts for Medicare Advantage and Individual and Family Plans

Originally posted on Cigna.com  Waiving cost-share for all in-office or telehealth visits from primary care providers and specialists, including behavioral health Extending previously announced policies, including no cost share for COVID-19 testing and treatment Doubling number of meals available to Medicare Advantage customers at no extra cost following a hospital…

Toyota Statement on Social Injustice

Originally published on pressroom.toyota.com. At Toyota, we are committed to making the workplace, marketplace, society and the world a better place for all. We all have recently experienced heartbreaking, disturbing and challenging events that are having a devastating impact on multiple levels and communities nationwide. We all have witnessed unacceptable bigotry and a…

An Important Message for the Employees and Physicians of Kaiser Permanente From Greg A. Adams, Chairman and CEO

Originally published on about.kaiserpermanente.org. The tragic event in Minneapolis and the civil unrest occurring around the country are weighing heavy on our hearts and minds. As a health care organization, as well as individuals, we understand that the profound fear, anger, and grief people are feeling reflect longstanding social injustice…