There’s evidence to support Joshua Brown’s criminal history, but many people won’t believe it because the Dallas Police Department lacks credibility after the Amber Guyger trial.
“The evidence will always be undermined by the DPD (Dallas Police Department) implication in that case,” said Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Brown’s family, according to an ABC News WFAA report.
Brown was fatally shot on Friday outside his Dallas apartment after testifying the week before during the murder trial of Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean. Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for murdering Jean in his apartment, which she said she mistook for her own. Brown lived across the hall from Jean.
Dallas police said Brown was robbed and fatally shot in a botched drug deal. Three suspects have been identified and two arrested in Brown’s death.
Brown’s death attracted national attention, with many people on social media saying they believed that Brown was killed because of his testimony during the trial.
Dallas police say that’s a false rumor and they have encouraged leaders to speak up in their defense.
Legal documents show Brown was arrested in at least five Texas cities for drug possession, evading arrest, theft and having an illegal firearm, according to ABC News affiliate WFAA. WFAA obtained court documents and a letter Brown wrote to a judge while he was serving time at Bradshaw State Jail. He was jailed from Jan. 4, 2017, to Feb. 17, 2017 for drug possession, according to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.
In the letter, Brown asked the judge to let him serve two different sentences concurrently so he could be released sooner. “I am praying when that date comes and I am discharged that I can put the whole series of events behind me and start of on a clean path,” he wrote. Later in 2018, Brown was shot at a North Dallas strip club and a man with him was shot and killed. Police said they believed Brown was the target in the killing, court records show.
Merritt claimed that Brown was afraid to testify during the Guyger trial but clarified his statements on Wednesday, saying that concern had nothing to do with Guyger or Jean’s death.
“He led people to believe that he had left Dallas and testifying in the trial lets them know, ‘Yes I am here,’ and it exposed him to danger. He feared for his life in this case, not because of Amber Guyger, but because someone shot him less than a year ago,” Merritt said.
WFAA obtained the search warrant of Brown’s apartment which shows police found 12 pounds of marijuana and $4,000 in cash. They also found digital scales.
At a press conference Tuesday, Dallas Assistant Police Chief Moore tried to downplay what he described as rumors and speculation.
“As you know, there’s been speculation and rumors that have been shared by community leaders claiming that Mr. Brown’s death was related to the Amber Guyger trial and somehow the Dallas Police Department was responsible,” he said. “I assure you that is simply not true. And I encourage those leaders to be mindful of their actions moving forward because their words have jeopardized the integrity of the city of Dallas as well as the Dallas Police Department.”
In the days since Guyger’s conviction, rifts between the Dallas police department and the community have become more visible, D Magazine reported.
On Oct. 8, the new Community Police Oversight Board met for the first time but failed to include public comment. Shouting and shoving ensued.
During cross examination, Guyger said she could not remember details from her de-escalation training. Allison Jean, Botham’s mother, has called for an overhaul of the police department’s training methods.
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Police Chief U. Reneé Hall is investigating the actions of Dallas Police Association president Mike Mata, who arrived at the scene of Botham’s death and had another officer turn off the camera in the squad car where Guyger was sitting.
Guyger’s text history included racist messages about pepper spraying attendees at a Martin Luther King, Jr. parade. She also talked disparagingly of the work ethic of her Black colleagues.
“The calls are coming from inside the house,” a Twitter user posted.