Justice for Botham Jean?


Courtesy of Getty Images

People gather in Greenville Avenue Church of Christ on September 13, 2018, in Richardson, Texas to mourn the death of Both Jean.

Amanda Chung, Photojournalist

Botham Jean, a 26-year-old man residing in Dallas, Texas, was killed in his own home on September 6, 2018. At around 10 p.m., Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer who lived a floor above Jean in the same apartment complex, barged in his apartment and fired two bullets at him, fatally shooting him in the torso. He later passed away at the hospital.

Officer Guyger called 911 after the incident, and she was arrested, booked, then released- all in the span of an hour. She originally told the police that she took the elevator to the wrong floor and walked to Botham’s door, which she thought was hers. It was locked and she tried to get in until he opened the door. She then changed her story and said his door was unlocked, but shut. Her most recent claim is that his door was ajar.

Witnesses state that they are sure that they heard Officer Guyger repeatedely bang on Botham’s door and demand for him to open it. Multiple neighbors like Melissa Ann posted videos of their doors online, showing that it’s impossible for their apartment doors to stay ajar, discrediting the officer’s statements (BET).

Since the shooting, the city of Dallas has been hit with a wave of protests, most notably the one that occured at a Dallas Cowboys game. Nine activists, Lelani Russell, Miracle Freeman, Michael Lowe, Dion Williams, Stepanie Briant, Devote Peters, Daryl Burnham, Melissa Perry, and Arminta Jeffers were arrested for a class B misdemeanor, meaning they were charged for obstructing a pathway and had to remain in jail until they could appear in front of a judge (Blavity). They were held for two nights before being released on a 100$ bail.

Texan Senator, Ted Cruz, has commented on this tragedy that occured in his state multiple times. He thinks that “we shouldn’t jump to conclusions” when it comes to Officer Guyger’s actions. Conversely, Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who is running against Senator Cruz in the upcoming midterm elections, has firmly expressed his opinion that Officer Guyger should be fired. He delivered a rousing speech at a rally in a Dallas church, touching upon the injustices African-Americans face in society; he calls for justice for victims of police brutality and claims that the corrupt system “can and must change” (Bustle). During a recent debate between the two senate candidates, Cruz stated that Beto “immediately [calling] for firing the officer… [was] a mistake.”

Dallas news station, Fox 4, and Dallas Police Department have also faced backlash from the public after reporting that marijuana was found in Botham Jean’s apartment, on the same day of his funeral. They are being accused of smearing him and attempting to attack his character. “They went in with the intent to look for some sort of criminal justification for the victim,” Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jean’s family, said.

Sarah Chen (11) has been keeping up with the recent police brutality controversies. “Events like these no longer surprise me,” she says. “It makes me terribly sad to know that this is what society has come to.”

Officer Guyger has been fired on September 22, after being given an administrative leave. Jean’s family takes this as a victory, but will await a trial to truly see if Botham Jean will get the justice he derseves.