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Dallas police officer charged with manslaughter

by J.C. Derrick
Posted 9/11/18, 09:26 am

The city of Dallas is considering more serious charges for an off-duty police officer who shot an unarmed black man in his own apartment last week. Officer Amber Guyger now faces a manslaughter charge for shooting and killing 26-year-old Botham Jean. District Attorney Faith Johnson said investigators are still trying to figure out what happened. “We are going to unravel whatever we need to unravel,” she said. “We are going to unturn whatever we need to unturn. And we are going to present a full case to the grand jury of Dallas County.”

Guyger, who is white, returned to her apartment complex after a 15-hour shift and said she parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage. She then entered Jean’s apartment, thinking it was her own. When she saw a figure moving around in the dark, she told investigators that she drew her weapon and, after Jean refused her verbal commands, fired twice, claiming she didn’t realize she had entered the wrong apartment until she turned on the lights.

The victim’s family has questioned why it took three days to arrest Guyger. “She shouldn’t have left that scene without being in handcuffs that day,” said attorney Lee Merritt, who represents the victim’s family.


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J.C. Derrick

J.C. is WORLD Radio’s managing editor. He spent 10 years covering sports, higher education, and politics for the Longview News-Journal and other newspapers in Texas before joining WORLD in 2012 and eventually becoming WORLD’s Washington Bureau chief. Follow J.C. on Twitter @jcderrick1.

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Comments

  • OldMike
    Posted: Tue, 09/11/2018 02:38 pm

    At the very least, someone with so little awareness that she should never have been made a police officer. 

  • Laura W
    Posted: Tue, 09/11/2018 06:46 pm

    I hate to say it, but what surprises me is that this sort of thing doesn't happen more often than it does. It isn't hard to end up driving one too many or one too few floors up the parking ramp after you've been working for 15 hours straight under presumably high-stress conditions (are long shifts the part that needs change?). And once on the wrong floor, she would naturally have walked on autopilot to the apartment above or below hers, without looking at the numbers (because she doesn't normally need them to find her apartment). And if on opening the door (does she normally leave her door unlocked, or did that part scare her too?) she saw a stranger moving around with the lights out, she would have immediately jumped into crisis response mode, without taking the time to re-evaluate whether she was at the right apartment. (I assume the interiors all have the same layout and might easily look the same in the dark.) At that point, I imagine she started picturing someone lying in wait for her, since if he wanted her stuff, he might have had some lights on to help find it and get out. (This is, of course, assuming that she's telling the truth about what happened.) Her reaction would have been pretty reasonable if she'd actually been at her own apartment. It's tragic that someone died from that mistake.

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