Botham Shem Jean's Family Plans To Sue The Officer Who Killed Him And The City Of Dallas
The suit comes after Amber Guyger was fired for “adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter.”
Update (September 26, 2018):
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Botham Shem Jean’s family is taking further steps in order to seek justice for the 26-year-old businessman. The family plans to file a lawsuit, citing excessive use of force, NBC News reports.
The family’s attorney, Lee Merritt, didn’t confirm when the lawsuit will be filed, but did note both former police officer Amber Guyger and the city of Dallas will be named defendants.
According to the Dallas News, Merritt said the family plans to sue Guyger because her actions were “under the color of state authority” despite being off-the-clock. If attorneys are able to persuade the court this claim is true, her employer, the city of Dallas could also be sued, legal experts told the paper.
"She is in uniform, she was wearing a badge, she purports to give commands which he allegedly failed to comply to," Merritt said. "Clocking in or clocking out has no bearing on that analysis."
Update (September 24, 2018):
Officer Amber Guyger has been terminated by Dallas Police chief Reneé Hall, the Dallas Police Department confirms. Hall previously pushed back against calls to fire Guyger. The decision to fire the officer who killed Botham Shem Jean was announced during a hearing on Monday, and is reportedly due to “adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter.”
NOW: @DallasPD Chief Renee Hall has arrived at council briefing— David Goins (@dgoins) September 24, 2018
late last week Hall stated firing Guyger would jeopardize criminal investigation. Hall fired Guyger a few minutes ago - @wfaa pic.twitter.com/IsGQHiEfFO
Guyger, who has been serving at her post since November 2013, has the right to appeal the decision.
Twenty-six-year-old Botham Shem Jean was shot and killed late Thursday by a Dallas police officer after she believed he was inside of her apartment. The police officer made the fatal error after she mistakenly entered Jean's apartment. The door to the apartment was unlocked.
Amber Guyer, the white, off-duty officer who claims she mistakenly shot Jean when she mistook his apartment for her own, is being charged with manslaughter. According to CNN, the 30-year-old was arrested and later released from Kaufman County Jail on Sunday night, upon fulfilling a $300,000 bail.
Jean was shot by the uniformed police officer who "fired her weapon striking the victim," according to a police report. Jean, a native of the Caribbean, was then taken to the hospital, where he died, according to NBC News.
"We don't need evidence beyond a reasonable doubt at this point," S. Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Jean's family told reporters. "At this point, we need probable cause of a crime. And the existence of probable cause is painstakingly clear to everyone."
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings released a statement Sunday thanking the Texas Rangers for their work in the investigation and also calling for prayers for the family of Jean.
My statement on tonight’s arrest of Amber Guyger pic.twitter.com/pIfToTpSsN— Mike Rawlings (@Mike_Rawlings) September 10, 2018
"We're still dealing in America with black people being killed in some of the most arbitrary ways," attorney Benjamin Crump, who will also represent the family alongside Merritt, said about the tragedy. "Driving while black, walking while black and now we have to add living while black."
"Somebody has to be crazy not to realize that they walked into the wrong apartment," said Botham Shem's mother, Allie Jean, who questioned how the situation escalated so quickly. "He's a bachelor. Things are different inside."
Botham Shem attended private Christian institution Hardin University, where he actively participated in the campus ministry and was a member of the Good News Singers.
Harding University, a small college in Arkansas, just shared this post about #BothamShemJean — the 26-year-old who was shot and killed by a Dallas Police Officer last night.— Tim Ciesco (@TimCiescoNBC5) September 7, 2018
They say Jean was an alum who “frequently led worship for chapel and for campus events.” #NBCDFWNow pic.twitter.com/mSqd7D2UJD
"I don't think there was a student on campus who didn't know Botham," said Landis Tindell, who reflected on Botham Shem's service as a resident adviser. "He was always friendly, always smiling and just all around a great person."
After graduating in 2016, Jean began a risk assurance internship at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
His sister, Alissa Charles-Findley, posted on Facebook that she was just thinking of what to get her brother for his birthday later this month.
"My brother is my best friend," she said. "My heart is broken beyond repair."
The Dallas Police Department (DPD) released a statement on Friday regarding the matter:
"I’ve spoken with the family expressed my condolences and reassured them that we are working diligently and that we have invited an outside agency to investigate," said DPD Chief Reneé Hall. "Right now there are more questions than answers. We understand the concerns of the community. That is why we are working as vigorously and meticulously as we can to ensure the integrity of the case and the department is upheld. In doing so – we hope to bring understanding to the family."
According to Dallas News, the unidentified police officer has been placed on leave pending an investigation. Hall also confirmed the department is obtaining an arrest warrant for the officer involved and that blood was taken from the officer for a drug and alcohol test. We'll keep you posted on further details as they arise.
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