DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – After a drama filled day one of motions, video reviews and interruptions, testimony in the murder trial of former police officer Amber Guyger continues in Dallas.
Tuesday morning the first witness to take the stand in day 2 of the trial was 911 call taker Karla Denise Rivera Berumen.
It was on September 6, 2018 when Guyger shot and killed her unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean. The emergency worker verified Guyger placed a 911 call at 9:59 p.m. on that day requesting an ambulance.
Jurors, Guyger, and some of Jean’s family listened as she told the 911 dispatcher that “I’m an off-duty officer. I thought I was in my apartment and I shot a guy thinking that he was… thinking it was my apartment.”
On the call she repeats over and over and over that, “I thought it was my apartment.”
The second person to testify was Sgt. Stephen Williams, a Dallas Police Department body worn camera supervisor. The sergeant gave specifics on the recording capabilities of DPD body cams and clarified that cameras record the 30 seconds prior to when an officer actually engages the camera.
The 3rd person on the stand was Dallas police Officer Michael Lee, who at the time of Jean’s shooting was a neighborhood police officer for the central substation. It was his body cam video that was then shown to the court.
The video shows Officer Lee driving up to the Southside Flats, trying to get into the gate of the building and ultimately entering the grounds. Officer Lee and another policeman run up several flights of stairs and ultimately respond to Guyger after announcing their presence several times.
Still saying she thought it was her apartment Guyger tells them Jean was shot “top left” and one of the officers immediately starts lifesaving efforts.
Jean is seen on the floor, motionless and covered in blood. After performing CPR and chest compressions the officers switch places and continue to try to revive Jean.
Paramedics arrived after about 5 minutes and load Jean onto a gurney — still performing CPR.
Officer Lee was asked about his actions as he proceeded to Jean’s apartment, the lighting conditions in the hallway, and the placement of items and furniture found inside as life saving measures began.
In reference to Lee’s body cam video, prosecutors say the tape supports a number of their arguments including that –
- Guyger is never seen tending to Jean and no furniture or items were moved to suggest she ever had
- Jean had noticeable items in his apartment that should have been telltale signs to Guyger that it wasn’t her unit
- Arriving officers had their guns drawn because they didn’t know the situation they were encountering but didn’t shoot anyone they encountered, suggesting Guyger’s actions were not appropriate
It was around 11:20 a.m. that Dallas police Sgt. Breanna Valentine took the stand. She told jurors how she had been next door at a 7-Eleven when the shooting call went out. Attorneys asked her about what happened when she entered Botham Jean’s apartment.
“When I walked inside she [Guyger] was inside. I could see the compliant with two officers performing CPR,” she said. “I swept the apartment. There was no one else in the apartment. When I came back into the front room [I] asked them if they needed anything or what I could do. They were asking about first aid, so I went to the bathroom, didn’t see a first aid kit, grabbed some hand towels [and] brought ‘em back out. They told me they were good. I went back outside with the defendant and then I took her immediately downstairs once he other sergeant showed up.”
Later prosecutors focused on still frames from Valentine’s body cam. Lawyers asked, “What is Amber Guyger doing at that particular moment and time?” Valentine responded, “It appears she’s on her phone.”
Tenants of the apartment building also took the stand to heard but didn’t see the shooting.
Joshua Brown broke down while testifying about meeting Botham Jean on the day he was killed.
Brown says he heard no commands from Guyger before the gunshots.
Prosecutor: “Do you recall anyone saying put your hands up?”
Brown: “No ma’am.”
It was also made public for the first time during the trial that there were no drugs or alcohol in Guyger’s blood when she was tested after the shooting.
Also, a red light should have flashed on the door look when Guyger used her keys to try and open it before discovering it was unlocked and unfortunately walking in.