By Frederick H. Lowe
An off-duty Dallas police officer entered the wrong apartment Thursday, mistakenly thinking it was hers and shot to death the man who lived there.
The officer, a white woman, will be charged with manslaughter, said Dallas Police Chief Ulysha Renee Hall at a news conference. The cop, who was still wearing her uniform after completing her shift, has not yet been named.
The Texas Rangers have joined the investigation, and their officers have administered a blood test to determine if the police officer had alcohol or drugs in her system. The officer was placed on administrative leave.
The deadly shooting of Botham Shem Jean, 26, at 9:30 p.m. raises more questions than answers, including how the officer got into the apartment and why she didn’t immediately realize that she was in the wrong place, said Chief Hall. Or was it Jean’s black skin that prompted the cop to shoot her gun?
It’s not known what interaction transpired between the two, but whatever occurred resulted in the cop pulling her gun and shooting Jean. The building’s tenants can enter their unit using either a key or a keypad.
The New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID), which is based in Brooklyn, New York, on Friday harshly condemned the killing and it sounds more like the shot heard around the world.
“The culture of policing that has emerged in black communities all across America is one where cops shoot to kill first, then ask questions after.” The group asserted that “police officers are killing black men while walking innocently on the streets, driving innocently in our cars and now while living innocently in our own home,” the St. Lucia Times newspaper reported.
“This is really crazy now black men aren’t safe in their own doggone home. He is shot dead by a Dallas police officer for opening his own door where he pays the bills. Let’s see how this one plays out. Sending prayers out to this man’s family for such a tragic loss, “ wrote a woman on Facebook.
The police officer called 911 and emergency technicians rushed the victim to Baylor Medical Center, where Jean, a native of St. Lucia, was pronounced dead. He had been working as an intern in risk assurance for accounting at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, an international accounting and consulting firm with offices in Dallas. He was a 2016 graduate of Harding University, a private liberal arts university in Searcy, Arkansas. He earned degrees in accounting and business systems. Jean was also a member of the school’s campus ministry.
“The entire Harding family grieves today for the loss of Botham Jean, who has meant so very much to us. Please join us in praying for Botham’s friends and family,” school officials said on its website.
Botham Jean was the son of St. Lucia’s former permanent secretary.