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.
80 Black Men And Boys Killed By Police
1. Yassin Mohamed1 of 80
2. Finan H. Berhe2 of 80
3. Sean ReedSource:Twitter 3 of 80
4. Steven Demarco TaylorSource:S. Lee Merritt 4 of 80
5. Ariane McCreeSource:The Herald/YouTube 5 of 80
6. Terrance Franklin6 of 80
7. Miles HallSource:KRON4 7 of 80
8. Darius TarverSource:S. Lee Merritt 8 of 80
9. William Green9 of 80
10. Samuel David Mallard, 1910 of 80
11. Kwame "KK" Jones, 17Source:facebook 11 of 80
12. De’von Bailey, 1912 of 80
13. Christopher Whitfield, 3113 of 80
14. Anthony Hill, 2614 of 80
15. De'Von Bailey, 1915 of 80
16. Eric Logan, 5416 of 80
17. Jamarion Robinson, 2617 of 80
18. Gregory Hill Jr., 3018 of 80
19. JaQuavion Slaton, 2019 of 80
20. Ryan Twyman, 2420 of 80
21. Brandon Webber, 2021 of 80
22. Jimmy Atchison, 2122 of 80
23. Willie McCoy, 2023 of 80
24. Emantic "EJ" Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 2124 of 80
25. D’ettrick Griffin, 1825 of 80
26. Jemel Roberson, 26Source:false 26 of 80
27. DeAndre Ballard, 23Source:false 27 of 80
28. Botham Shem Jean, 26Source:false 28 of 80
29. Robert Lawrence White, 41Source:false 29 of 80
30. Anthony Lamar Smith, 24Source:Getty 30 of 80
31. Ramarley Graham, 18Source:Getty 31 of 80
32. Manuel Loggins Jr., 31Source:Getty 32 of 80
33. Trayvon Martin, 17Source:Getty 33 of 80
34. Wendell Allen, 20Source:Getty 34 of 80
35. Kendrec McDade, 19Source:Getty 35 of 80
36. Larry Jackson Jr., 32Source:Getty 36 of 80
37. Jonathan Ferrell, 24Source:Getty 37 of 80
38. Jordan Baker, 26Source:Getty 38 of 80
39. Victor White lll, 22Source:Getty 39 of 80
40. Dontre Hamilton, 31Source:Getty 40 of 80
41. Eric Garner, 43Source:Getty 41 of 80
42. John Crawford lll, 22Source:Getty 42 of 80
43. Michael Brown, 18Source:Getty 43 of 80
44. Ezell Ford, 25Source:Getty 44 of 80
45. Dante Parker, 36Source:Getty 45 of 80
46. Kajieme Powell, 25Source:Getty 46 of 80
47. Laquan McDonald, 17Source:Getty 47 of 80
48. Akai Gurley, 28Source:Getty 48 of 80
49. Tamir Rice, 12Source:Getty 49 of 80
50. Rumain Brisbon, 34Source:Getty 50 of 80
51. Jerame Reid, 36Source:Getty 51 of 80
52. Charly Keunang, 43Source:Getty 52 of 80
53. Tony Robinson, 19Source:Getty 53 of 80
54. Walter Scott, 50Source:Getty 54 of 80
55. Freddie Gray, 25Source:Getty 55 of 80
56. Brendon Glenn, 29Source:Getty 56 of 80
57. Samuel DuBose, 43Source:Getty 57 of 80
58. Christian Taylor, 19Source:Getty 58 of 80
59. Jamar Clark, 24Source:Getty 59 of 80
60. Mario Woods, 26Source:Getty 60 of 80
61. Quintonio LeGrier, 19Source:Getty 61 of 80
62. Gregory Gunn, 58Source:Getty 62 of 80
63. Akiel Denkins, 24Source:Getty 63 of 80
64. Alton Sterling, 37Source:Getty 64 of 80
65. Philando Castile, 32Source:Getty 65 of 80
66. Terrence Sterling, 31Source:Getty 66 of 80
67. Terence Crutcher, 40Source:Getty 67 of 80
68. Keith Lamont Scott, 43Source:Getty 68 of 80
69. Alfred Olango, 38Source:Getty 69 of 80
70. Jordan Edwards, 15Source:Getty 70 of 80
71. Stephon Clark, 22Source:false 71 of 80
72. Danny Ray Thomas, 34Source:false 72 of 80
73. DeJuan Guillory, 27Source:false 73 of 80
74. Patrick Harmon, 5074 of 80
75. Jonathan Hart, 2175 of 80
76. Maurice Granton, 2476 of 80
77. Julius Johnson, 2377 of 80
78. Jamee Johnson, 22Source:S. Lee Merritt 78 of 80
79. Michael Dean, 28Source:S. Lee Merritt 79 of 80
Dallas Grand Jury Indicts Amber Guyger On Murder Charge For Killing Botham Jean was originally published on newsone.com