Dallas Police Fire Officer Amber Guyger, Weeks After Shooting Death Of Botham Jean

Sep 24, 2018
Originally published on September 26, 2018 6:48 pm

Updated, 7:21 a.m. Tuesday

The Dallas Police Department has fired officer Amber Guyger, almost three weeks after she shot and killed her black neighbor in his apartment. 

Guyger, 30, was terminated by Chief U. Reneé Hall in a hearing Monday morning. That follows an internal investigation that concluded that Guyger "engaged in adverse conduct" when she was arrested on Sept. 9 for manslaughter, according to a statement from the police department.

The statement says she was fired for "her actions," but does not elaborate on those actions. 

Guyger, who's white, fatally shot unarmed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment on Sept. 6 after she returned home in uniform from a shift. 

Lawyers for the Jean family in a statement called Guyger's termination "bittersweet."

“As Botham Shem Jean’s family has his homegoing service in St. Lucia this week, this announcement of Amber Guyger’s termination from the Dallas Police Department is bittersweet for Botham’s family," the statement said. "While nothing can bring him back, DPD’s firing of Guyger is the first step towards justice for Botham Shem Jean.”

Hall told reporters Monday she waited until the "critical portion" of the investigation was complete before firing Guyger. She said the department was notified over the weekend that the administrative process could move forward. 

"As a police chief, my job is to ensure the highest level of integrity in this criminal investigation and that is what I did," Hall said. "And I waited until the critical portion of this investigation was complete. The investigation is ongoing, but the critical portion where it could be compromised is no longer an issue.” 

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said Chief Hall "made the right call."

"I have heard the calls for this action from many, including the Jean family, and I agree that this is right decision in the interest of justice for Botham Jean and the citizens of Dallas," Rawlings said. "The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent life is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust. I know Chief Hall agrees with me on that and I appreciate her leadership. Once again, she’s made the right call."

Guyger's attorney Robert Rogers said in a statement Monday night that his client's firing was premature and unfair.

Rogers said Chief Hall buckled under "pressure from anti-police groups" and acted "before all of the facts had been gathered and due process was afforded."

He said the shooting was "a tragic mistake" and that Guyger "is completely devastated by what happened."

In her arrest affadavit, Guyger told investigators she mistook Jean's apartment for her own and thought she was being burglarized. She lived in the unit directly below Jean in South Side Flats in Dallas and moved out this month.

Lawyers for the Jean family have called the affadavit "self-serving" and said it contradicts accounts from neighbors in the apartment complex. 

Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail three days after Jean's death with bail set at $300,000. She was released on bond shortly after. 

There has been a series of protests in the weeks since Jean's death, calling for firing Guyger and charging her with murder. Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has said the case will be presented to a grand jury, which could determine stronger charges for Guyger. 

Guyger was hired in November 2013, assigned to the Southeast Patrol Division. She can appeal her termination.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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