AUSTIN, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – “Bo’s Law” is a pen stroke away from becoming law.
The “Botham Jean Act” is named in honor of the Dallas accountant murdered in his own apartment by an off-duty Dallas police officer in 2018.READ MORE: Cameron Lavon Stephens, 18, Charged With Murder In Fatal Shooting Of Arlington Teen At Hurricane Harbor
The bill passed both chambers at the Texas Capital with bipartisan support and is now headed to the governor’s desk.
“It comes with mixed feelings,” says Allison Jean, Botham’s mother, speaking from her native St. Lucia. “The first feeling is that of elation that Botham’s name is going to be written on a law in Texas. That for me, is huge.”
The accountant and church praise leader was eating ice cream and watching TV when former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered his apartment and shot and killed him– later telling jurors during her criminal trial that she mistook his apartment for her own on another floor.
She was convicted and sentenced to ten years in prison in 2019 but has since appealed the conviction.
State Representative Carl Sherman of DeSoto authored the bill in response to Jean’s murder.
“It will mean that now we will have more systemic accountability with police officers being required to turn on their cameras and keep it on for the duration of the investigation,” says Sherman. “Will we have improvements each session? I believe so.”
Guyger’s body camera was not recording during the shooting because she was off duty.READ MORE: Austin Police Arrest, Charge 19-Year-Old With Murder For 6th Street Mass Shooting
However, there were questions raised about the lack of camera footage from responding officers.
Allison Jean would like to see the bill strengthened to include more punitive measures for officers who break the law in future sessions.
“I want to see that there are policies, there are laws that would create greater accountability, greater transparency and those who swore to serve and protect, do just that,” says Jean. “Anything that has that intent, I am all for it.”
The version headed to the governor’s desk will not include clarifications to the state’s Castle Doctrine. That’s the law that allows homeowners to use deadly force and claim self-defense. Guyger unsuccessfully argued that the doctrine should have applied in the deadly shooting because she thought the apartment that she was entering was her own and that Jean was an intruder.
Rep. Sherman says he will continue to push for police reform in future sessions.
“It’s a game of inches,” says Sherman. “But we’ve got to keep pushing forward, keep getting gains and we will continue to fight for more change.”
And for the Jean family, the goal is also about remembrance.MORE NEWS: Vice President Harris On Her Way To Texas For Visit To US-Mexico Border
“With Botham’s name etched on street signs, on laws, if they can be on buildings and everywhere where people must say his name,” says Allison Jean, that for me, is what I will continue to support.”