Two Days After An Off-Duty, Uniformed, White Dallas Police Officer Shot And Killed Botham Jean In His Own Apartment, There Isn’t Even A Warrant Yet.
Update at 8:45 p.m. on Sunday, September 9: After a warrant was issued for her arrest on charges of manslaughter, Guyger turned herself in to authorities on Sunday night.
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Updated at 8:20 p.m. on September 8, 2018: Dallas Police have now confirmed the earlier Dallas Morning News reports that the officer who shot and killed Botham is 30-year-old Amber Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force. Police have also identified her as being assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. They also have still not yet placed her under arrest. Meanwhile, the Dallas Morning News reports that Guyger has used her service weapon before: In a 2017 officer-involved shooting, Guyger fired upon a man who reached for her taser during an on-duty scuffle. Our original post follows.
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Warning: What you are about to read is some infuriating shit.
Shortly after 10 p.m. on Thursday, September 6, a white female Dallas police officer — off-duty but still in uniform after having just completed a 12-hour shift — shot and killed a 26-year-old black Dallas man named Botham Jean while he was standing inside his own apartment.
The as-yet-unnamed (we now knew her to be Amber Guyger; see update at the top of this post) four-year veteran of the Dallas Police Department claims she went to the wrong apartment on the wrong floor of the complex in which both she and Jean lived, and unsuccessfully attempted to open its door, which she allegedly mistook for her own. She then shot Jean with her department-issued gun after he opened his own apartment’s door — the very one that the officer had been trying to open — to see what the noise was about. After being shot, Jean was rushed to Baylor University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
An immigrant from St. Lucia, the American-educated Jean worked as a risk assurance associate for PricewaterhouseCoopers. In the wake of his death, his friends and neighbors are remembering him as a jovial, God-fearing man. Speaking on Saturday afternoon, Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings noted that he was “exactly the sort of citizen we want to have in the city of Dallas” and “a potential leader for his city for decades to come.” The mayor called Jean’s death a “tragedy.”
The shooting took place on the fourth floor — only accessible by elevator, per one report — of a large and modern (read: nice, if unremarkable) apartment complex called South Side Flats. Located at 1210 Lamar Street in the Downtown Dallas-adjacent neighborhood of The Cedars, South Side Flats is a mere two city blocks removed from the Dallas Police Department Headquarters’ 1400 Lamar Street address.
In statements made at that same DPD HQ on Friday afternoon — during which she noted her desire to “ensure the integrity of [this] case and the department” — Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said that the extent of the officer’s interaction with Jean at the time of the shooting was not yet known.
She noted, however, that the officer did call in shooting to 911 herself, that other DPD officers responded to the call within four minutes of receiving the call and that the department was treating the matter as an “officer-involved shooting.” In the wake of the 911 and officers arriving on the scene, Hall notes that “a blood sample was drawn [from the officer who shot Jean] to test for drugs and alcohol” in her system at the time of the shooting. Hall also said Friday that she had invited Texas Rangers to operate as independent investigators in the case, and that DPD was “in the process of obtaining a warrant.”
By the time Hall hosted a follow-up press conference on Saturday, however, no arrest had yet been made — and, perhaps more surprising, no warrant for arrest had yet been issued.
Hall blamed the delay on Texas Rangers, who she says requested that DPD “hold off” on issuing any warrants for the time being. Part of the delay could be due to confusion over what charge should be brought upon the officer, with a judge reportedly denying DPD’s Friday request for a warrant carrying a manslaughter charge on the grounds that a murder charge would be more appropriate.
Such semantics could come into play throughout this case, which is also independently being investigated by the Dallas County District Attorney’s office at Mayor Rawlings’ request.
Per a fact sheet on the shooting provided to the mayor and Dallas City Council by City Manager T.C. Broadnax that city council member Scott Griggs has shared, there are devils to be found in this case’s details.
For one thing, the officer’s 911 call came in to DPD as an “assist officer call,” which, along with the proximity to DPD HQ, might explain why the notably slow-to-respond-of-late department, was at the apartment complex and completely blocking off the scene of the crime in just a fraction of the time it usually takes officers to get to most 911 calls throughout the city.
The shooting, the fact sheet also says, is being handled as “a non-work-related shooting involving an off-duty officer” — a statement that runs contrary to Chief Hall’s assertion that the shooting was an “officer-involved” one. The distinctions between the two kinds of shooting are minor, but important. Notes the fact sheet: “When an officer fires their weapon in the course and scope of their official capacity, it is considered an officer involved shooting. A shooting involving an officer is when the officer fires their weapon outside of the course and scope of their official capacity.”
The fact sheet, shared by Griggs on Friday night, also notes that the city at that point believed that it “had enough information to obtain a warrant for manslaughter,” although the “Texas Rangers will ultimately decide what charges are appropriate.” That statement jives with both Hall’s comments this afternoon and the claims that a judge denied attempts to issue a warrant seeking the officer on manslaughter charges.
In his own Saturday comments, Rawlings ensured that his office is “going to make sure that justice is served.” The pace at which said justice is coming, though, is somewhat reminiscent of another recent, high-profile and racially sensitive incident in which DPD was criticized for taking its time.
While no one is questioning that charges will eventually be filed against the officer, who has per protocol already been placed on administrative leave, the severity of those charges is not yet known. For her part, the officer is reportedly being “cooperative” with investigators, although she is also said to be an “emotional wreck” in the wake of the shooting.
Despite rampant online speculation at the moment, the extent of the officer and Jean’s relationship — or if they even had one at all — is also unknown.
Videos reportedly taken by another resident of the South Side Flats in the immediate aftermath of the shooting allegedly show Jean’s body being rushed to the hospital and the officer who shot him speaking on the phone while pacing the apartment complex’s halls:
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This story is developing — and at a frustrating pace.
Do you have questions about what’s going on? You are not alone: Here are the ones we’re currently wrapping our heads around.
See Also: HOW LONG UNTIL BOTHAM JEAN’S LOVED ONES GET JUSTICE? // Given How Slowly Dallas Pursues Its Cases Against Indicted Cops, Don’t Expect Amber Guyger’s Trial To Start Anytime Soon — Assuming There’s A Trial At All.