Dallas Cop Convicted of Murder

Devorah Segura, Reporter

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On Sept. 6, 2018, at the Southside Flats in Downtown Dallas, Botham Jean was in his apartment eating ice cream on his couch, when Amber Guyger, an off duty Dallas police officer, entered through his front door and fatally shot him in the chest. Afterward, Guyger alleged that she entered his apartment after mistaking it for her own and acted in self-defense against who she mistakenly thought was a burglar. 

 

“The sensationalism that comes from this case was that she was in his apartment when she shot him, and then there were conflicting reports of did they used to date, were they involved with one another,” AP Literature teacher,

Matt Clarke said.

 

With the nationwide media coverage that followed this case, there was a question of whether or not Guyger would be charged for her crime.

 

“A lot of the black community sees it as a hunter killing the hunted. This animalistic moral type of constitution that we can sometimes have and is not justifiable,” said Kevin Cooper, who is the sponsor of the Black Student Association.

 

Arguments from Guyger’s attorney ranged from excuses that she was tired coming from her 12-13-hour shift and was not paying attention, to how Guyger was simply acting out in self-defense. According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Guyger told investigators she arrived from work at about 10 p.m. and mistakenly parked her truck on the fourth floor of the building instead of the third, which corresponded with her apartment on the third floor.

 

Guyger was fired from the Dallas Police Department  9 days after being arrested. Over a year later, the murder trial began on Sept. 23, 2019, in Dallas. Prosecutor Jason Hermus asked the jury to convict Guyger of murder, claiming she gave Jean, “no opportunity for de-escalation, nor opportunity for him to surrender” before she opened fire killing him. Defense attorney Robert Rogers accused the prosecution of “making innocent mistakes, into evil acts.” He argued that. “the only justice, in this case, is to find Guyger not guilty.”

 

The jury began deliberations on Sept. 30 and reached a verdict on Oct. 1. The jury convicted Guyger of murder, and she was sentenced to 10 years in prison with the chance of parole.

 

This case is similar to another that took place on Oct. 12, 2019, just under 2 weeks after Guyger’s trial. Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman was gunned down in her home by a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, who’d been summoned for a wellness check. Police responded to Jefferson’s house around 2:25 a.m. Saturday after a concerned neighbor noticed her doors were open in the middle of the night. Officers searched the perimeter of Jefferson’s house and claimed to have seen “a person standing inside the residence near a window,” according to Forth Worth police. 

 

“There’s this cop from Fort Worth and he’s just doing a wellness check, and then all of a sudden because of this idea that possibly a black person is involved and so forth, [the officer is] more alert than anything,” Cooper said. “and because of that, this is what happens.”

 

Unfortunately, the case of Atatiana Jefferson also ended in a fatal shooting. Jefferson was in her home playing video games with her nephew when officer Aaron Dean opened fire. Dean was arrested and charged with murder on Oct. 15. He stepped down from his position on Oct. 14. 

 

There is almost a new case of a fatal shooting every week by a police officer, with over 700 in 2019 alone.

 

“Black people shouldn’t have to live in fear of the repercussions of being them,” Cooper said.

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