Dallas cop charged with murder for killing Botham Jean

By George Chalmers
December 24, 2018

DALLAS — Cop Amber Guyger was charged with murder Nov. 30 in the shooting here of 26-year-old Botham Jean on Sept. 6.

Guyger, who entered Jean’s apartment as he was watching football, shot him twice. She claimed the killing was a tragic error, that she went into the apartment by mistake and took him for an intruder. She lives on the floor directly below in the same downtown building.

Other residents told authorities they heard the cop yelling for Jean to let her in and then shooting him without any notice.

Guyger was charged with manslaughter three days after the killing. She was fired by Dallas police after weeks of protests. The case was brought to a grand jury in November, which upped the charge to murder. After being booked, Guyger posted $200,000 bail, in addition to $300,000 on the original charge, and was released.

Botham Jean was from St. Lucia in the Caribbean and worked in Dallas as an accountant. He was also a part-time preacher and song leader at the Dallas West Church of Christ. Fifteen hundred people attended his memorial service in Richardson, Texas, Sept. 13.

Allison Jean, Botham Jeans’s mother, told the press that she knew her son was a victim of murder “from the very start.” 

Jean’s mother is a former government official in St. Lucia. When his body was returned to the island nation for burial, the memorial meeting was full, with a crowd standing outside in his honor.

The Dallas Morning News reported this appears to be only the second time in at least 45 years that a Dallas cop has been charged with murder. The last time was in 1973 when officer Darrell Cain put 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez in handcuffs and played Russian roulette with him until Cain’s gun shot the youth in the head.

The killing provoked widespread protests, strengthening the Chicano rights movement across the country. Cain was convicted, but served only half of a five-year sentence. 

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said it would be at least a year before Guyger goes on trial. 

This author and other members of the Socialist Workers Party here discuss the murder of Botham Jean with workers as we knock on doors to introduce the party and its literature. “Murder was the charge, but knowing the Dallas police, if she is convicted they will find a way to make it manslaughter, or a lesser charge,” Dwight Vaughn told us. “She pretended like she thought it was her apartment but she knew which one she was going in. It’s up to a jury, but to me it looks like premeditated murder.”

“I think the grand jury charge of murder is very appropriate,” John Davis from West Dallas told us. “Because she has a badge she drew her gun and shot.”