DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Amber Guyger, the Dallas officer who shot and killed her neighbor, was summoned to Dallas Police Department headquarters Monday and fired.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall terminated Guyger, who was arrested for manslaughter in the shooting death of Botham Jean, 26. DPD tweeted a news release that said she was fired after an internal investigation found she had engaged in “adverse conduct” when charged with manslaughter.
On the day after the shooting, Chief Hall said her department was seeking manslaughter charges against Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force. But Hall said the Texas Rangers asked her department to hold off because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before a warrant was issued.
Hall called Jean’s parents and their attorneys on Sunday to discuss Guyger’s termination. She explained why it took so long to fire Guyger. Hall explained that a premature administrative suspension could have possibly implicated Guyger’s fifth amendment protections and compromised the criminal prosecution.
The Jean family expressed satisfaction in this explanation, according to a release and in Guyger’s termination. They said they saw it as an initial victory— well received on the day Botham Jean is laid to rest in his native country in St. Lucia. However, their attorneys said they’re committed to seeing through the next steps of the process of a proper murder indictment, conviction and appropriate sentencing. Additionally, the Merrit Law Firm is conducting a parallel investigation into the case as they prepare a 1983 civil rights action against Guyger and the City of Dallas for the wrongful death of Botham Jean, according to a release from the firm.
The Jean family attorneys released the following statement today in regards to the termination of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, the officer who has been charged with manslaughter in the shooting of Botham Jean:
“As Botham Shem Jean’s family has his homegoing service in St. Lucia this week, this announcement of Amber Guyger’s termination from the Dallas Police Department is bittersweet for Botham’s family. While nothing can bring him back, DPD’s firing of Guyger is the first step towards justice for Botham Shem Jean.”
An arrest affidavit prepared by the Texas Rangers provided a narrative of what happened the night Jean was killed. It appeared to be based almost entirely on the officer’s account.
Guyger told investigators that she had just ended a 15-hour shift that Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.
When Guyger put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar (according to the affidavit), it opened. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer’s account.
Guyger told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice at Jean, the affidavit said.
She called 911 and, when asked where she was, returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit.
The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest and abdomen. His death was ruled a homicide.
Jean grew up in the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia before attending college in Arkansas. He graduated in 2016 from Harding University. He had worked for the PricewaterhouseCoopers accounting firm in Dallas since graduating.
Jean wasn’t the first person shot by Guyger. She shot a man named Uvaldo Perez on May 12, 2017, while on duty.
According to an affidavit filed against Perez, police were looking for a suspect when Guyger and another officer were called to assist a third officer. Perez got out of a car and became combative with Guyger and another officer. A struggle began and Guyger fired her Taser at Perez, who then wrested it away from her. She then drew her gun and fired, wounding Perez in the abdomen.
Sgt. Michael Mata, president of Dallas’ largest police union, the Dallas Police Association, said Guyger was a respected officer and well known to investigative units in the department because she worked on a high-risk team tasked with arresting some of the most violent offenders. On the day of the shooting, Guyger’s unit had arrested multiple suspects for armed robbery, he said.
Mata called for Guyger to have fair treatment, but also said she should answer for her actions.
Guyger was hired in November 2013 and assigned the Southeast Patrol Division.