In a rare move, a police officer who shot an unarmed black man has been fired from the force.
Dallas Police Chief Ulysha Renee Hall terminated Officer Amber Guyger who shot and killed Botham Jean in his home on Sept. 6, 2018 for reasons that remain a mystery.
Shortly after the murder, the Dallas Police found cannabis in Jean's apartment, prompting outrage that they were attempting to criminalize the victim and justify his murder.
“She also offered an explanation of why it took so long,” Jean family lawyer S. Lee Merritt said referring to the Dallas Police Chief, “explaining that she had to consider Ms. Guyger's Fifth Amendment protections specifically so that her termination action wouldn't compromise the criminal matter and lead to, really, the criminal allegations being thrown out altogether.”
The Fifth Amendment prohibits self-incrimination and double jeopardy.
An internal affairs investigation concluded that Guyger “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter” on September 9, according to a statement released on Dallas Police Department’s verified Twitter account.
It is notably rare that a white police officer receives this kind of discipline prior to a hearing.
The statement did not elaborate on the nature of the adverse conduct.
Under civil service rules, Guyger has the right to appeal her discipline, the statement reads.
In the criminal case, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has said a grand jury could charge Guyger with a stiffer crime than manslaughter.
While Botham's mother, Allison Jean, was relieved by the news of Guyger's termination, calling it a “satisfactory solution,” the family would still like to see Guyger indicted on a murder charge, said their attorney Merritt, who is preparing a civil rights claim in Jean's death.
Guyger's termination makes his case stronger because it shows the city and police department think Guyger “obviously engaged in behavior that doesn't comport with a police officer,” said Merritt.