Police Officer Who Killed Man After Mistaking His Apartment For Her Own Is Indicted

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A Dallas police officer is facing a murder charge after killing a man in his own apartment, CNN is reporting. Amber Guyger went into Botham Shem Jean’s apartment on September 6 thinking it was her own. The door was reportedly slightly ajar and she was able to unlock it and enter. After seeing a silhouette in a dark room, Guyger issued verbal commands, believing Jean was an intruder. When Jean did not listen, Guyger shot him twice — killing him. She began administering first aid to the fallen man and called 911, and it was only when giving her address did she realize she had entered the wrong apartment. While she was initially charged with manslaughter, she is now facing a murder charge.

Daryl Washington, an attorney for Jean’s family, has shared with the press that his parents wanted justice and had filed a lawsuit accusing Guyger of using excessive force. Jean’s family were hoping that the prosecution would move forward with a murder charge rather than just a manslaughter charge, and documents obtained by the press on Friday, November 30, showed that this will now be the case. Guyger had been arrested for the murder on September 9 and taken to the Kaufman County Jail but was able to post a $300,000 bond. The Dallas Police Department did not officially fire her until a hearing on September 24.

This case has been especially prevalent in the media as Jean was a black man, adding to the already widespread conversation on police officers and racial injustice. Jean’s death resulted in days of protests, with officers even using pepper balls on protesters at one point. Protesters also interrupted a city council meeting to advocate for law enforcement facing more accountability. According to Vox, Jean was merely watching a football game when Guyger entered.

His parents also argued that he would never leave his door ajar like Guyger claims, and that doors in the apartment complex make a specific chiming noise when opened. They believe that Guyger should’ve understood that her key did not unlock the door when the chime did not go off, notifying her that the apartment was not hers. In addition, Jean has a red doormat, while as Guyger did not. Another lawyer for Jean’s family, Lee Merritt, claims he heard from witnesses that Guyger was pounding on the door and yelling “Let me in.”

“The eyes and the ears of the world are on Dallas, Texas, right now,” said Washington. “And we know if a young man can be lawfully in his apartment complex, not committing a penal offense, and this officer is not indicted on murder, that’s going to be really problematic for the whole process.”