Activists and lawyers for the family of 26-year-old Botham Jean, killed in his own apartment by a White female police officer, are accusing the Dallas Police Department of orchestrating the effort to “assassinate his character.”
The accusations were hurled when the media reported Dallas Police used a search warrant to search the dead man’s apartment and reported finding a small amount of marijuana in the apartment.
On Sept. 14, the family’s lawyers, including Benjamin Crump, known for representing families of unarmed Black people killed by the police, said the search warrant which allowed investigators to look for drugs should have never been issued.
The lawyers and Jean’s family are also calling for the firing of police officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed Jean on Sept. 6.
She has been booked on a preliminary charge of manslaughter and is free on bond.
Guyger told investigators she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, which is right below his, and that upon entering the dark home, she believed she had encountered an intruder and shot him
when he didn’t obey her verbal commands.
Lee Merritt, one of the Jean’s family’s attorneys, said on Sept. 14, investigators wasted no time in digging for dirt they could use to smear Jean’s name. Within hours of Jean being shot, they asked a judge for a warrant to search his home for drugs, among other things.
“On the night that he was killed, the Dallas Police Department investigators were interested specifically in finding information that could help assassinate his character,” Merritt said. The news came the same day that mourners at her son’s funeral remembered him for his religious convictions and kindness.
In Texas, being caught with that amount of marijuana is a class B misdemeanor punishable for up to 180 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $2,000.
Court documents obtained Friday revealed that an investigator from the Dallas County district attorney’s office seized the electronic door lock to Guyger’s apartment and downloaded data from the lock.
Jean’s mother called on police to release toxicology results from a blood sample taken from Guyger on the night of the shooting. She said that she did not understand why Guyger was allowed to “roam the streets for three days” after killing her son.
On June 29, during the annual National Newspaper Publisher’s Association (NNPA) Convention in Norfolk, a panel discussion on “Unintended Consequences of Racial and Cultural Profiling” was held.
Two of the panelists, John Dixon, a former Police Chief of Petersburg, Virginia and Sergeant Cheryl Dorsey, a retired Los Angeles Police officer, expressed concern about the “Dirtying Up” of victims shot by police during the initial part of the investigation after their deaths.
Dixon said he is not surprised at the effort to “assassinate” or “dirty up” Jean’s character by elements of the Dallas Police Department.
Chief Dixon, interviewed by phone Sept. 17 from his home in Northern Virginia, said he applauded the Dallas Police Department in filing manslaughter charges against Guyger.
He said it may have been done “because the officer had to be held accountable even at the time when not all of the facts are known about the case.”
Dixon said he is familiar with Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall and that he is confident “she will do the right thing.”
Dixon is the former President of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE) based in Northern Virginia.
Dixon said that a manslaughter charge is equal to an individual killing someone with a car but “you did not mean to do it, because it was an accident” unless you are heavily under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
At his funeral, Jean was described as a talented and passionate man, who confided to his uncle that he might want to become prime minister of his native Caribbean island country of St. Lucia someday.
By LeonardE. Colvin
New Journal and Guide