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.
56 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Jimmy Atchison, 211 of 56
2. Willie McCoy, 202 of 56
3. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 213 of 56
4. D’ettrick Griffin, 184 of 56
5. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 5 of 56
6. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 6 of 56
7. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 7 of 56
8. Antwon Rose Jr., 17Source:false 8 of 56
9. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 9 of 56
10. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 10 of 56
11. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 11 of 56
12. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 12 of 56
13. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 13 of 56
14. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 14 of 56
15. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 15 of 56
16. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 16 of 56
17. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 17 of 56
18. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 18 of 56
19. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 19 of 56
20. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 20 of 56
21. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 21 of 56
22. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 22 of 56
23. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 23 of 56
24. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 24 of 56
25. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 25 of 56
26. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 26 of 56
27. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 27 of 56
28. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 28 of 56
29. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 29 of 56
30. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 30 of 56
31. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 31 of 56
32. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 32 of 56
33. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 33 of 56
34. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 34 of 56
35. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 35 of 56
36. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 36 of 56
37. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 37 of 56
38. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 38 of 56
39. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 39 of 56
40. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 40 of 56
41. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 41 of 56
42. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 42 of 56
43. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 43 of 56
44. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 44 of 56
45. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 45 of 56
46. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 46 of 56
47. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 47 of 56
48. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 48 of 56
49. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 49 of 56
50. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 50 of 56
51. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 51 of 56
52. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 52 of 56
53. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 53 of 56
54. Patrick Harmon, 5054 of 56
55. Jonathan Hart, 2155 of 56
56. Maurice Granton, 2456 of 56
Dallas Grand Jury Indicts Amber Guyger On Murder Charge For Killing Botham Jean was originally published on newsone.com