Dallas Police Officer Charged With Manslaughter Over "Wrong Flat" Killing
An off-duty Dallas police officer told authorities she believed she had discovered a burglar inside her unlit apartment Thursday. That's why she fired her service weapon at Botham Shem Jean, according to an affidavit released by police on Monday after prosecutors formally charged Amber Guyger with manslaughter.
According to the new documents, Guyger, 30, told Texas Ranger David Armstrong that her door was ajar when she arrived at her downtown Dallas apartment. She saw a "large silhouette" inside, drew her handgun and gave "verbal commands that were ignored" by Jean, 26. Guyger pulled the trigger, hitting Jean in the torso. He died of the injury hours later.
Guyger told investigators that she called 911, first turning on the lights while on the call. "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," the affidavit said.
A video taken from outside the building shows the officer on the phone, pacing back and forth outside the apartment and crying. Paramedics were later seen moving a man on a gurney and performing CPR on him.
Guyger voluntarily surrendered at the Kaufman County Sheriff's Department on Sunday evening amid intensifying calls for her arrest and accusations that police were showing deferential treatment to one of their own. The death also has become a rallying cry for advocates against police brutality.
Despite the arrest, Jean's mother, Allison Jean, said several questions remained unanswered.
"The number one answer that I want is, 'What happened?' " Allison Jean told reporters Monday. "I have asked too many questions, and I've been told that there are no answers yet. I'm looking forward to the powers that be to come up with the answers to make me more satisfied that they are doing what is in the best interest of getting justice for Botham."
Officials were tight-lipped Monday about what happened inside Jean's apartment, what the officer's physical and mental state was at the time, whether she was under the influence of a controlled substance, why she thought Jean's apartment was hers, and why a trained officer seemed so quick to use deadly force.
It also is still unclear why investigators held off for three days before charging Guyger with manslaughter.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said that her office was in the process of obtaining an arrest warrant but that it was postponed after the Texas Ranger Division, a separate agency, took over the case and asked for additional time to investigate.
A grand jury will ultimately decide the final charges against Guyger and could consider charges such as murder, a first-degree felony, or the lesser charge of manslaughter, a second-degree felony.
Still, Lee Merritt, an attorney representing the Jean family, told The Washington Post that Guyger's claims in the affidavit are inconsistent with evidence that has been presented to the district attorney. "There are witnesses who said that before the gunshots they heard the officer knocking at the door and repeatedly saying, 'Let me in.' "
Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson vowed thoroughness and fairness as her office prepares to present the case.
"We're going to unravel whatever we need to unravel. We're going to unturn whatever we need to unturn. And we are going to present a full case to the grand jury," Johnson said.
Guyger, who has been with the police department for four years and is now on administrative leave, has been released on $300,000 bail. The Dallas Morning News reported that her attorney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Texas Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Rangers, declined to comment beyond a brief news release announcing Guyger's arrest. The District Attorney's Office also did not responded to a request for comment.
Deanna Paul, Kristine Phillips, The Washington Post
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