Botham Jean was alone in his apartment when suddenly, the door, which court documents report was slightly ajar.
A woman stepped inside and, upon seeing Jean’s outline, reportedly issued a warning and fired two shots, fatally striking the 26-year-old in the torso. So why has the case gained controversy instead of being an open-and-shut murder? The killer, Amber Guyger, is a police officer and claims to have believed she entered her own apartment. Thinking Jean was an intruder, she allegedly believed she was acting against an intruder in self-defense.
Here are 9 things you need to know about the pending case:
1. Jean was a St. Lucia native and a Harding University graduate.
Jean was born in St. Lucia and moved to the U.S. where he became a naturalized citizen. He attended Harding University and was a deep believer in God. According to Jean’s father, the young man persuaded Harding into sending volunteers to his home island in the Caribbean to complete charity work, The Cut reported.
Harding has released a video of Jean’s singing performances.
2. Though Guyger claims she believed she was stepping into her apartment, some facts don’t add up.
After fatally shooting Jean, Guyger called 911. Court documents report that “upon being asked where she was located by emergency dispatchers, Guyger returned to the front door to observe the address and discovered she was at the wrong apartment.”
However, residents usually know their apartment number without having to check first, which calls into question why Guyger would check her home address when asked by dispatchers instead of simply recalling from memory.
Also invoking suspension was the bright red doormat outside of Jean’s apartment, which Guyger’s residence did not have.
Lee Merritt, one of the civil rights lawyer representing the Jean family, claims that apartment doors in the complex close automatically, and so the door could not have been ajar, The Cut reports.
Dallas PD Officer Amber Guyger first said she showed up to #BothamJean's apartment and the door was shut and locked.
Then she said it was shut but unlocked.
Now she says it was actually wide open.
Here a resident of the same building shows that is IMPOSSIBLE.
She lies. pic.twitter.com/p9BERuMocV— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 11, 2018
3. Guyger’s self-defense claim contradicts those of eyewitness reports.
When discussing the case, Merritt told the Washington Post that eye witnesses claim they heard Guyger knocking on Jean’s door and yelling “Let me in!” before the subsequent gunshots.
4. Guyger was tested for drug and alcohol use, but the results have yet to be released.
Authorities have neither commented on the results of Guyger’s drug and alcohol tests nor her mental health.
5. Charges against Guyger are believed to have been delayed because she’s a cop.
Guyger was not arrested until three days after Jean was killed, leaving many wondering what took so long. Likewise, Guyger was brought in on manslaughter charges, instead of murder, with the key difference being that murder implies intent to kill while manslaughter suggests a form of unintentional action.
Merritt questioned these actions, telling the New York Times, “We don’t want it lost on anyone that, had this been a regular citizen, she would have never left the crime scene.”
However, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall told the Washington Post that the office moved to obtain an arrest warrant last week, but paused their efforts when the Texas Ranger Division requested more investigation time.
6. There may have been a prior connection between Guyger and Jean.
According to the Dallas Morning News, Guyger has previously shot a man in the stomach after he reportedly reached for her taser. She was not charged with a crime.
In relation to Jean, Guyger has made several noise complaints against her upstairs neighbor in the past, The Cut reports.
7. Video has surfaced of Guyger in the apartment hallway after killing Jean.
Guyger, whose apartment number is 1378, paced outside of Jean’s apartment after the killing, exactly one floor above her apartment, unit 1478. In the video, Guyger appears to be on the phone and crying before other officers arrive. Later, a man’s body, believed to be Jean’s, is taken out on a gurney.
8. On Monday, protesters marched through the streets of Dallas demanding justice for Jean.
Starting at the downtown Dallas police headquarters, protesters marched to Jean’s apartment building, urging consequence for his senseless killing. In a call and response movement video, protest leaders shouted a resounding “What’s his name?” To which protesters announced, “Botham Jean!”
Protesters in front of Dallas Police HQ right now chanting “Botham Jean”. @CBSDFW pic.twitter.com/GN26W07gcN— Andrea Lucia (@CBS11Andrea) September 11, 2018
According to Dallas Morning News Journalist Tommy Noel, Dallas police officers shot at protesters with a paintball gun.
Here's raw video of a Dallas police officer firing a Pepperball Gun to keep protesters from marching down Cadiz St. The protesters are marching for Botham Jean who was shot and killed by a Dallas officer last week. pic.twitter.com/eeMbnqRizZ— Tommy Noel (@TommyNoel) September 11, 2018
9. A jury will decide Guyger’s fate.
Guyger was arrested on Sunday. Her bail was reportedly set at $350,000, but the 30-year-old officer has since been released and placed on administrative leave.
The verdict in the case against Guyger will be decided upon a grand jury. For Merrit, though, the case is surrounded with red flags.
“It would be irresponsible to rely on this extremely bizzare, self-serving affidavit,” Merrit told the New York Times, referencing Guyger’s sole point of view.
Blavity will continue following this story.
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