A jury on Tuesday found former Dallas Police officer Amber Guyger guilty of murder in the 2018 shooting death of Botham Jean, a black man, in his own apartment.
Guyger, still wearing her uniform, mistakenly entered Jean’s home in the same apartment complex and immediately assumed he was a burglar. Guyger’s apartment is one floor below Jean’s.
Jean was sitting on the couch, watching television and eating vanilla ice cream.
Guyger testified through tears while shaking her blonde hair, Jean walked towards her in a manner she deemed malevolent.
Guyger claimed she feared for her life, an excuse cops are trained to use before firing their service revolvers. She fired, shooting him in the heart. He died later at Baylor Medical Center.
The jury could have found Guyger guilty of murder, manslaughter or acquitted her. The police department fired Guyger following Jean’s shooting.
After Judge Tammy Kemp read the verdict, loud cheers erupted throughout the court building. Guyger, who had been fired by the police department following the shooting, sat stoically. She later wiped tears from her eyes. Jean’s family traveled from his native St. Lucia for the two-week trial, cried tears of joy. Allison Jean, Botham’s mother joyfully raised her hands in the air.
Guyger faces five to 99 years in prison. The sentencing phase of the verdict is scheduled to begin Wednesday.
Although some view Guyger’s conviction—a white woman cop convicted of murdering an unarmed black man— as a milestone. It is and it isn’t.
In 2016, Betty Shelby, a former Tulsa, Oklahoma, cop shot to death Terence Crutcher, an unarmed motorist. Crutcher had his hands raised in air after his car had broken down alongside the road. A jury found her not guilty of manslaughter. Shelby went to work for another police department.
In another deadly shooting by police of an unarmed black man in Sacramento, California, police officers returned to duty after not being charged in the murder of Stephon Clark.
The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California and the FBI found insufficient evidence to support federal criminal charges against Terrance Mercadal and Jaret Robinet in the shooting death of Clark who was standing in his grandmother’s backyard holding a mobile phone which the cops took to be a pistol. The FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s office issued the ruling September 27.
Mercadal and Robinet shot Clark, the father of two, seven times on March 18, 2018.