Nov 04, 2019 Letters
On October 1, 2019 Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer was charged with first degree murder in the Sept. 6, 2018, shooting of Botham Jean, a 26 year accountant, who lived in a fourth-floor apartment directly above hers. According to the officer, she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own – following a 15-hour tour of duty, and shot him while he was eating a bowl of ice cream because she thought he was an intruder. Prosecutors said Guyger failed to realise where she was because she was ‘sexting with Rivera, another married police officer, and should have called for backup instead of entering when she found the apartment door unlocked.
The case received national attention following a nationwide debate about police misconduct against people of colour.
The outcome of the case was uncertain; in fact, the only certainty was the swift and resounding calls for Guyger to go to prison.
The jury previously found her guilty of murder and she faced 5 to 99 years in prison. However, she was sentenced to 10 years, with eligibility for parole after five years.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Guyger is now the third officer in Dallas County to be found guilty of murder since 2016. Prior to 2016, it was 40 years since a police officer faced murder charges in the Dallas area.https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2019/09/20/with-4-cops-in-3-years-indicted-on-murder-charges-dallas-county-bucks-national-trend/.
The last was Darrell Lee Cain, who was convicted of murder with malice of a 12-year-oldMexican American boy, Santos Rodriguez, and sentenced to five years in prison but was released after two and a half years.
Following the sentencing , and after speaking and hugging the parents of the victim, the presiding judge Tammy Kemp, returned to the courtroom with her personal Bible in hand and gifted it to police officer Amber Guyger, and pointed to John 3:16 a passage about salvation. Kemp, who is black, told the Associated Press that she gave the Bible to encourage Ms. Guyger, because she has a lot of life to live”. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/04/us/amber-guyger-judge-tammy-kemp-hug.html?
Brandt Jean, the brother of Botham also shocked the courtroom when he embraced Officer Guyger after she was convicted of murdering his brother. https://www.today.com/news/amber-guyger-hugged-botham-jean-s-brother-emotional-court-moment-t163842
Fact 1: Amber Guyger is White. Botham Jean was Black. Two White Police Officers Jason Van Dyke and Amber Guyger were sentenced to a combined 16 years for the murders of 17-year-old Laquan Mc Donald and 26-year-old Botham Jean. They will serve 3 years and 5 years respectively.
Two Black men Kelontre Barefield pleaded guilty and received 34 years for killing Jethro, a police canine in Ohio, plus an additional 11 years for other charges, and Michael Thompson was sentenced in Michigan to 42 years for selling weed.
On another interesting note, 10 days after testifying in Guyger’s trial, key witness Joshua Brown who lived across the hall from Botham Jean was gunned down at his new apartment complex. Brown’s testimony during Guyger’s murder trial was key because he was able to describe the officer’s actions immediately after she killed his neighbour Botham Jean. The 2 men met hours before Jean died. Brown testified that he met Jean the day he was killed: September 6, 2018.https://www.cnn.com/2019/10/05/us/botham-jean-neighbor-killed/index.html
Brown originally from Jacksonville, Florida, had moved to Texas since 2008. During his testimony, he broke down and wiped away tears, saying, “Jean could have been him”.https://www.vox.com/identities/2019/10/6/20901317/amber-guyger-botham-jean-witness-joshua-brown
Witnesses said that they heard several gunshots, and saw a silver, four door Sedan race away from the parking lot. However, there are detailed descriptions of the suspects.
Brown “was ambushed at his apartment complex as he got out of his car and was shot at close range,” Attorney Lee Merritt wrote in a Facebook post. Merritt represents the Jean family, and has said that the mother of Joshua Brown has asked him to do whatever it takes to get to the bottom of her son’s demise.https://www.facebook.com/lee.merritt.esq/videos/10100753412013317/
The timing of Joshua Brown’s death immediately drew attention and led to widespread speculation. In a news release the NAACP Legal Defence and Educational Fund Inc. requested an independent investigation into Brown’s death, calling it “deeply alarming and highly suspicious” in a news release. Merritt has said that “the possibility of law enforcement involvement” could not be ruled out, and has called for Dallas police to recuse themselves from the investigation into his shooting.
Fact 2: Joshua Brown had indicated his reluctance to testify in such a high profile case. He was nevertheless subpoenaed. The Dallas Police have attributed the death of Joshua Brown on October 4, 2019 to a drug deal gone sour.
They quickly identified the men as Thaddeous Green, Jacquerious Mitchell and Michael Diaz Mitchell. Two men are in custody and Thaddeous Green is being sought.https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/2-suspects-in-custody-1-sought-in-cop-trial-witness-slaying-1.4629761
For some strange rhyme and reason, although police have made arrests it remains unclear how the three men came into contact with Brown or why they would have driven more than 300 miles (483 kilometers) from central Louisiana to purchase marijuana in Texas. Michael Mitchell the suspected getaway driver was arrested at a motel in Marksville, Louisiana. 20-year-old was in critical condition in a Dallas hospital with a gunshot wound. To date, there are no further details regarding the getaway car or the capture of the third suspect who remains at large. Official murder charges are yet to be laid.
The convicted police officer although dismissed from the Dallas Police Force, and even in the face of being given a Bible by the judge to aid in seeking God, still feels the sentence is undeserved. On October 16, lawyer Michael Mowla, filed a notice of appeal with the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals, of her conviction and 10 year prison sentence. The basis of her possible argument was not specified.
Fact 3: Amber Guyger is appealing her sentence primarily because she possesses the similar mindset and culture prevalent throughout the police force. — above the law, subject to qualified immunity and total lack of
The appeal is a full back hand slap in the face of Blacks not only in America but the world over. A blatant shatter to Black Lives Matter! Judge Kemp did not do Amber Guyger any favour.
The policewoman shot a man in cold blood and more care was given to her than the family of the man she killed. Inherent problem is that the weight of her verdict was not allowed to be felt without a buffer.
The many Blacks who believe that the sentence Guyger received was a victory, may soon come to regard it as being depictive of another story— that justice has failed, plunging us once again into the never-ending nightmare, and the hauntingly unanswered question—Will justice ever be found as more bodies hit the ground?
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