Botham Jean’s Family Files Lawsuit Against Former Dallas Police Officer Guyger And City Of Dallas Over Son’s Death

Botham Jean mother.
Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images

On September 6, former Police Officer Amber Guyger entered an apartment she allegedly believed to be her own in the South Side Flats complex on South Lamar Street in Dallas, Texas. After entering the apartment, which was one floor above her own, she came upon the actual resident, 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean.

A startled Guyger allegedly pulled out her firearm, and issued verbal commands to Jean before shooting him in the torso. Jean was taken to a hospital where he later died.

Three days after the incident, Guyger was arrested and charged with manslaughter. Her case will go before a grand jury, although a specific start date for this process has yet to be determined. Additionally, according to Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, the charge of manslaughter is subject to change.

On September 24, Guyger was fired. According to a tweet from the Dallas PD, "an Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on September 9, 2018, Officer Guyger ... engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter."

On Friday, Jean’s family filed a lawsuit against Amber Guyger and the city of Dallas, reports The Dallas Morning News.

The lawsuit alleges that Guyger was improperly trained under the Dallas Police Department, and that the department itself has a history of "using excessive force against minorities."

The lawsuit reads in part:

By simply following proper police procedures and the best police practices and not the protocol of the DPD to 'shoot first and ask questions later', Defendant Guyger would have not shot Jean. ...

Essentially, Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective DPD policy: to use deadly force even when there exist no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others.

The lawsuit further states that Guyger acted inappropriately when confronting Jean:

Jean attempted to comply by slowly arising from his seated position. Without any lawful justification to do so and not asking the questions that a reasonable well-trained officer would have, Defendant Guyger fired upon Jean, striking him in the chest although he was unarmed and not attempting to harm her or any other person.

The Jean family is reportedly hoping that the lawsuit will result in a change in the way police officers in the city of Dallas are trained.

There are several disputes among the Jean family, Guyger, and police regarding key pieces of the case, reports The Dallas Morning News.

Guyger stated that the door was already partially open when she entered, but the family disputes that. The lawsuit claims that the digital lock wouldn’t have chimed in a way Guyger recognized because it wasn’t her door. However, if the door was ajar, as Guyger claims, such a theory is irrelevant. The family also notes that Jean’s door had a red mat in front of it, which Guyger’s did not — something she allegedly should have noticed. The police claim Guyger provided aid to Jean after shooting him, but the family disputes that as well.

According to NBC News, "[attorney Lee] Merritt has said that two independent witnesses told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting." Additionally, he claims a witness heard a female demanding to be let in.

In a recent interview with a local NBC affiliate, DA Johnson stated that the District Attorney’s Office won’t rush the case to the grand jury because they don’t want to miss anything:

We are getting the case ready for the grand jury. And when we do that ... we plan to give the grand jury every piece of evidence that’s gonna be necessary, we believe, to help them make the right decision in the case. Not only will we give [them] all the evidence, but we also plan to explain the law to them thoroughly in terms of what this offense is.

And I think that’s one of the things I want to make certain that the people of Dallas County understand is that we are not trying to work quick, so that we would miss anything. We don’t want to miss anything.

As noted above, the investigation is ongoing and no date has been set for a grand jury hearing. The Daily Wire reached out to Botham Shem Jean’s sister Allisa Charles-Findley for comment, but as of publication, we haven’t received a response.

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