UPDATED: 5:00 p.m. EDT — Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, Attorney Lee Merritt, and Botham Jean’s mother and father had a press conference after the murder indictment was announced. According to CBS News correspondent, Omar Villafranca, “Dallas Co DA Faith Johnson says this is not an indictment against police. She says the law is equal and treats police equal ‘for everyone in this county.’”
Allison Jean, Botham’s mother, said he was pleased with the murder indictment and as for Guyger, she added, “She inflicted tremendous evil on my son.”
UPDATED: 3:36 p.m. EDT — Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson was expected to address the media following a grand jury returning a murder indictment against former police officer Amber Guyger for killing Botham Jean in his own home in September.
Watch the press conference live on NBC Dallas Fort Worth by clicking here.
A grand jury in Dallas on Friday returned an indictment to charge former police officer Amber Guyger with murder for killing Botham Jean in his own apartment in September. The panel reportedly decided there was enough evidence to show the manslaughter charges Guyger was initially facing were not strong enough for shooting an innocent, unarmed Black man to death after she illegally entered his apartment.
Shortly after the grand jury returned an indictment, Guyger was reportedly being booked into custody.
The news offered hope to Jean’s family that Guyger would not get off with a light punishment for killing their loved one under the most auspicious of circumstances. If convicted, Guyger could spend the rest of her life in prison.
The tense anticipation ahead of Friday’s announcement lasted all week, as the grand jury convened for three days beginning Monday. Jean’s family could be seen at the Dallas County district attorneys office ahead of the announcement, in a sign that it would be coming down on Friday.
There was a considerable amount of skepticism as the grand jury finally met more than three months after Guyger, 30, killed Botham Jean, 26. On the night of Sept. 6, she illegally entered his apartment, which was located one floor above her own, and shot Jean to death — that much has been established as true. But everything else that transpired during that fatal episode was not exactly clear, with only Guyger’s word to go on.
She claimed that following a long day on the job as a Dallas police officer, she implausibly mistook his apartment for her own and, after ordering Jean not to move, shot him twice before realizing the error of her ways. Her story was greeted by doubt because of a number of factors, especially her assertion that Jean’s door was ajar. Videos posted on social media by neighbors appeared to show that apartment doors in the building shut automatically, which seemed to indicate that Guyger was lying.
In addition to the inconsistencies in her alibis, which have changed several times, Dallas police, of which Guyger was a member for five years before being fired, appeared to be helping to cover up the shooting for their colleague. The department was accused of allowing Guyger enough time to scrub her social media accounts and get her story straight before turning herself in three days after killing Jean. It also gave Guyger enough time to move out of her apartment, which was never searched by police despite five warrants allowing them to do so.
Guyger was ultimately arrested and charged with manslaughter, which many felt was insufficient considering the nature of the shooting. The charge, which was more than a month after the shooting, came after Dallas Police Chief U Renee Hall claimed she was “prohibited” from firing Guyger.
Murder charges against a police officer are notoriously hard to prosecute. There are roughly 1,000 police shootings every year in the United States, but officers seldom face justice. According to CNN, only 80 cops were arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings between 2005 and April 2017. However, only 35 percent of those arrests led to convictions in that 12-year period.
In one of those rare instances, former Dallas police officer Roy Oliver was in August found guilty of murder in the 2017 shooting of a Black teenager, Jordan Edwards.
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, who was accused of bungling the case from the beginning, remained on the case weeks after her losing on Election Day to John Creuzot, a Black Democrat who said he would have charged Guyger with murder. But in a sign that may bode well for Guyger, Oliver was sentenced to just 15 years, with the possibility of parole after serving seven and a half.
Johnson’s predecessor, former Dallas County DA Craig Watkins, told NewsOne recently that manslaughter charges may be easier to prove than murder and offered some words of caution for Creuzot, whose office will ultimately inherit the case after he’s inaugurated next year.
“It’s a precarious situation to make a statement that it should be a murder case without knowing the facts,” Watkins said last week.
62 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Eric Logan, 541 of 62
2. Jamarion Robinson, 262 of 62
3. Gregory Hill Jr., 303 of 62
4. JaQuavion Slaton, 204 of 62
5. Ryan Twyman, 245 of 62
6. Brandon Webber, 206 of 62
7. Jimmy Atchison, 217 of 62
8. Willie McCoy, 208 of 62
9. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 219 of 62
10. D’ettrick Griffin, 1810 of 62
11. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 11 of 62
12. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 12 of 62
13. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 13 of 62
14. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 14 of 62
15. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 15 of 62
16. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 16 of 62
17. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 17 of 62
18. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 18 of 62
19. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 19 of 62
20. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 20 of 62
21. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 21 of 62
22. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 22 of 62
23. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 23 of 62
24. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 24 of 62
25. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 25 of 62
26. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 26 of 62
27. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 27 of 62
28. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 28 of 62
29. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 29 of 62
30. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 30 of 62
31. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 31 of 62
32. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 32 of 62
33. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 33 of 62
34. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 34 of 62
35. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 35 of 62
36. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 36 of 62
37. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 37 of 62
38. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 38 of 62
39. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 39 of 62
40. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 40 of 62
41. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 41 of 62
42. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 42 of 62
43. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 43 of 62
44. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 44 of 62
45. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 45 of 62
46. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 46 of 62
47. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 47 of 62
48. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 48 of 62
49. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 49 of 62
50. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 50 of 62
51. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 51 of 62
52. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 52 of 62
53. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 53 of 62
54. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 54 of 62
55. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 55 of 62
56. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 56 of 62
57. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 57 of 62
58. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 58 of 62
59. Patrick Harmon, 5059 of 62
60. Jonathan Hart, 2160 of 62
61. Maurice Granton, 2461 of 62
Dallas Grand Jury Indicts Amber Guyger On Murder Charge For Killing Botham Jean was originally published on newsone.com