DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Passionate protesting and unruly outbursts. Organizers battled emotions at a town hall meeting in Dallas, just over three weeks after Botham Jean was shot and killed inside his apartment by a police officer.
It was meant to be a day of reflection and remembrance. Botham Jean’s mother, Allison, called in from St. Lucia where he hailed from. She addressed her son’s supporters and friends.
“I thank Dallas. I thank you immensely for continuing to stand with us in seeking justice for Botham,” she said.
Allison Jean said she and thousands of St. Lucians marched on what would have been her son’s 27th birthday.
“I am continuing to fight in whatever way I can, to get justice for my son. He did not deserve to die in the way that he did,” she said.
District Attorney Faith Johnson sat with city leaders, activists and others to answer questions.
When asked about whether a Grand Jury will be presented with a murder charge by the DA’s office, Johnson said: “I have an opinion on this… we’re going to present this to the Grand Jury… we don’t have a date.”
Former Dallas officer Amber Guyger remains free on bond while charged with manslaughter. Frustration over the charge quickly boiled over.
“Is it that you can’t up the charge to murder? Or you won’t?” one person asked. “No, it’s the law,” Johnson replied.
Another issue was the absence of Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall. The Jean family’s attorney had similar concerns.
“It’s quite tragic that the Dallas Police Department could not send a representative. I understand that the chief of police who did agree to be here today… had a family emergency that she had to deal with,” said attorney Lee Merritt.
The town hall was punctuated with disruptions that grew louder when time for questions ran out.
Crystal Bates has attended nearly every community event for Botham Jean. She says the fight is far from over.
“People are frustrated. We have a right to protest. No justice, no peace… I strongly agree with that,” said Bates.
Botham’s mother says she’s grateful for the continued support for her family, but she urged that protests continue to remain peaceful.