By Frederick H. Lowe
The NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund is pushing for an independent investigation into the murder of Joshua Brown, a key witness in the recent trial of Amber Guyger, a former Dallas cop, who shot to death Botham Jean and was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his murder.
In another development, Dallas police on Tuesday produced Avery L. Moore, assistant chief for investigation and tactical, to refute LDF’s assertions. Moore is black and because of this, his comments may seem more believable to some blacks and some whites. Police, however, have a history of planting evidence and using unreliable jailhouse informants to solve cases and win convictions. CNN first broke the story and other networks, including NPR quickly followed.
Moore claims Brown was murdered during a botched drug deal involving three other men. One of the men who was wounded has been hospitalized. The other two men are on the run, Moore said. Police raided Brown’s apartment, and they claimed they found large quantities of drugs and cash.
Moore’s announcement attempts to blunt wide-spread speculation that police assassinated Brown because the department’s initial reaction was to protect Guyger by using Dallas area media to smear Jean, an accountant. Moore alluded to the speculation without being specific during a news conference.
The media depicted Jean as a drug addict. Jean used medical marijuana to treat symptons of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder or ADHD.
It remains to be seen if the Dallas Police Department is believed because of the long history of bad blood between the police and the black community. The LDF is calling for a federal investigation, which reflects the sentiment of Dallas’s black residents.
An unknown assailant or assailants shot to death Brown in the parking lot of a Dallas apartment building. His body was found Friday. Brown died of multiple gunshot wounds.
“The circumstances surrounding the murder of Mr. Brown cries out for answers. Most importantly, it demands an independent investigation of how and why he was killed,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, LDF’s president and Director-Counsel. “We urge state or federal authorities to follow the trail of misconduct left by this case and fully investigate the circumstances surrounding Mr. Brown’s death. “ Dallas police attempted to protect Guyger by shutting off her camera attached to her uniform.
Brown, who lived in the apartment across the hall from Jean and could hear him singing gospel every morning, contradicted Guyer’s testimony. Guyger mistakenly went into Jean’s fourth-floor apartment located in the South Side Flats building, believing it was hers.
Guyger’s apartment is directly below Jean’s. Jean was sitting on the couch watching television and eating vanilla ice cream. When Guyer entered the apartment, not noticing it was not hers, she testified Jean did not obey her commands. The deadly shooting occurred September 6, 2018.
But Brown, who was listening through his apartment door’s peephole, testified that he never heard Guyger issue any commands, according to LDF.
“His testimony was critical to Officer Guyger’s conviction, including establishing that officer Guyger did not shout verbal commands or warnings before shooting Botham Jean,” LDF said.
The murder of Botham Jean has raised troubling concerns from the beginning of the investigation, and now the deeply alarming and highly suspicious murder of Joshua Brown increases the urgency of an immediate, independent investigation of every aspect of these tragic killings, the LDF said in statement issued Sunday.
Like LDF, Lee Merritt, Brown’s family attorney, is also calling for an independent investigation of his client’s deadly shooting,