Tammy Kemp, Judge Who Sentenced Amber Guyger, Gets Backlash For Hugging Her, Giving Her A Bible

The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a formal complaint for the Bible incident.

a judge's gavel
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The Freedom From Religion Foundation has filed a formal complaint for the Bible incident.

Tammy Kemp, the judge who presided over the trial of Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, is getting criticized for her behavior in the courtroom that included hugging the defendant and giving her a Bible.

The Crime

This week, as reported at the time by The Inquisitr, Guyger was convicted of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean.

On September 6, 2018, Guyger, an off-duty Dallas Police Department patrol officer, entered the Dallas, Texas, apartment of Botham Jean and shot and killed him. Guyger would later say that the thought she was entering her own apartment and, on seeing Jean, believed he was an intruder.

During her trial, residents of the apartment building said that the floors of the building all had similar floor plans and looked exactly the same, a situation that could have led to Guyger’s confusion about where she was. However, the prosecution alleged that Guyger was distracted, having exchanged text messages with her lover in the moments leading up to the killing. Further, she didn’t follow the Dallas Police Department policy and call for backup.

Hugging The Defendant

After sentencing Guyger to ten years, Kemp stepped down from the bench and gave Guyger a hug, as The New York Post reports.

“You haven’t done so much that you can’t be forgiven. You did something bad in one moment in time. What you do now matters,” Kemp told her.

That act has received more than its share of criticism, including a tweet from SiriusXM host Joe Madison.

“A judge must be impartial. Tammy Kemp has undermined her credibility,” he tweeted.

That was actually one of the more charitable things said about the incident. On Twitter, users were more direct, with some invoking comparisons to the literary character Uncle Tom.

Giving The Defendant A Bible And Proselytizing

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In addition to hugging Guyger, Kemp also gave her a Bible and quoted a well-known verse.

“You can have [my Bible]. I have three or four at home,” Kemp said. She then quoted John 3:16, the New Testament verse in which Jesus says that he was God’s only son, sent to save the world.

That incident, according to USA Today, snagged the attention of Wisconsin-based advocacy group Freedom From Religion Foundation. In its complaint, the group said that Kemp’s actions “overstepped judicial authority.”

“It is perfectly acceptable for private citizens to express their religious beliefs in court, but the rules are different for those acting in a governmental role,” the group wrote.

The group is asking the Texas State Commission on Judicial Conduct to investigate the incident as a violation under the Texas Code of Judicial Conduct.