Botham Jean’s Brother Hugs ‘Devil In The Blue Dress’ And Mother Bangs Against Dallas Police Corruption
Before former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was led off to prison for murdering Botham Jean in his apartment, the victim’s brother hugged her and told her, “I love you like anyone else.” Twitter went nuts.
Guyger was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean in 2018 — a crime that carried a sentence of up to 99 years in prison. Guyger said that she had entered his apartment believing it was her own and mistook him for a burglar. Then she shot him through the heart.
She will be eligible for parole in five years. Prosecutors had asked for at least 28 years. Botham would have celebrated his 28th birthday this week if not for Guyger.
Botham’s 18-year-old brother, Brandt Jean, told Guyger on the witness stand, “I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you.”
Botham’s father, Bertram Jean, said Guyger faced the consequences of her actions. “I’d like to become your friend at some point… I think I have the ability to do it and I would like to be a friend despite my loss. That’s why we are Christians,” Bertram said.
But Botham’s mother, Allison Jean, wasn’t so quick to forgive — at least not in public. Instead, she drew attention to corruption in the Dallas Police Department.
“Forgiveness for us as Christians is healing for us, but like my husband said, there are consequences,” she said. “I will leave my forgiveness to Amber to myself.”
Allison told journalists that citizens need to fight for change in Dallas. She blasted the Dallas Police Department and said their training methods need an overhaul.
“If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be alive today,” Allison said. “He was no threat to her. He had no reason to be a threat to her, because he was in his own apartment.”
Prosecutors in the case showed jurors racially insensitive text messages and social media posts that showed a violent streak, suggesting they showed Guyger’s true character, CBS reported. On Pinterest, Guyger wrote, “People are so ungrateful — no one ever thanks me for having the patience not to kill them.”
Also on Pinterest, she said: “I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me, because I’m already dressed for your funeral.” Beneath the image were the words, “Yeah I got meh a gun, a shovel and an gloves if i were u back da f—- up and get out of me f—- a—.”
Jurors also saw text messages from Guyger’s phone sent when she was working a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Dallas in 2018. When she received a message asking when the parade ended, she responded, “When MLK is dead…oh wait…”
Demonstrators in Dallas called for sweeping changes at the Dallas Police Department and for firing Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata, Dallas Morning News reported. Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé Hall described testimony that an in-car video camera had been tampered with after Guyger was placed in the vehicle. Hall also said she planned an internal investigation of Guyger’s former police partner, who deleted texts with Guyger about their sexual relationship.
Many on social media were shocked by the lenient sentence, acts of forgiveness that were considered undeserved, and called out the Dallas Police Department for corruption.
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From the witness stand, Brandt asked Guyger to devote her life to Christ, then hugged her. Judge Tammy Kemp handed her a Bible.
“I’m not going to hope you rot and die,” Brandt said. “I personally want the best for you. I wasn’t going to say this in front of my family, I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want for you. Give your life to Christ. I think giving your life to Christ is the best thing Botham would want for you.”
For many supporters of the Jean family, the sentence was like a slap in the face. Outside the courtroom, people chanted, “No justice, no peace!”
Others said the family deserves to be able to grieve in the way it sees fit.
Correction and update on 10-8-19: Judge Tammy Kemp handed former police officer Amber Guyger, the defendant, a Bible. An earlier version of the article stated otherwise.