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.
52 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 211 of 52
2. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 2 of 52
3. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 3 of 52
4. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 4 of 52
5. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 5 of 52
6. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 6 of 52
7. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 7 of 52
8. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 8 of 52
9. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 9 of 52
10. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 10 of 52
11. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 11 of 52
12. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 12 of 52
13. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 13 of 52
14. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 14 of 52
15. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 15 of 52
16. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 16 of 52
17. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 17 of 52
18. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 18 of 52
19. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 52
20. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 20 of 52
21. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 21 of 52
22. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 22 of 52
23. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 23 of 52
24. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 24 of 52
25. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 25 of 52
26. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 26 of 52
27. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 27 of 52
28. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 28 of 52
29. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 29 of 52
30. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 30 of 52
31. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 31 of 52
32. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 32 of 52
33. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 33 of 52
34. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 34 of 52
35. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 35 of 52
36. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 36 of 52
37. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 37 of 52
38. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 38 of 52
39. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 39 of 52
40. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 40 of 52
41. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 41 of 52
42. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 42 of 52
43. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 43 of 52
44. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 44 of 52
45. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 45 of 52
46. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 46 of 52
47. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 47 of 52
48. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 48 of 52
49. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 49 of 52
50. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 50 of 52
51. Patrick Harmon, 5051 of 52
52. Jonathan Hart, 2152 of 52
Dallas Grand Jury Indicts Amber Guyger On Murder Charge For Killing Botham Jean was originally published on newsone.com