Dallas killer cop Amber Guyger had a shady past where she joked about MLK's death and sent racist texts about black officers
The 31-year-old had fatally shot neighbor Botham Jean, 26, in his Dallas apartment in September 2018 after allegedly mistaking him for an intruder.
Cheers erupted in the courtroom after Amber Guyger, a former Texas police officer who shot an unarmed black man, was found guilty of murder. The 31-year-old had fatally shot neighbor Botham Jean, 26, in his Dallas apartment in September 2018 after allegedly mistaking him for an intruder. Guyger had walked into his fourth-floor apartment which was right above her one on the third floor and had found the door slightly ajar. She had drawn out her gun and then shot Jean, who had just started his career as an accountant.
The incident had caused an uproar and was around the same time unarmed black men had been shot by white police officers in Texas. At the time of the murder, she had been off duty but was in her uniform. She had her taser as well as pepper spray on her belt.
Evidence was submitted to the court that was meant to reveal that Guyger was insensitive to the black community. The prosection presented text messages during the hearing where she had mocked Dr. Matrin Luther King's death during a parade and critique of other black officers. In one of the texts from January 2018, she said, "When MLK is dead... Oh, wait..." when she had been assigned to the Dallas Martin Luther King Jr Day parade. The person on the other side had asked her when the parade would end. She had also suggested they pepper spray "the general area."
In another text from March 2018, her former police officer lover, Martin Rivera had texted her "Damn, I was at this area with five different black officers!!! Not racist but damn." To this she had replied, "Not racist but just have a different way of working and it shows." These text exchanges had been deleted from her phone.
The prosecution also showed social media activity from Guyger that showed she liked guns and killing. In one such post, she said, "Yah I got meh a gun a shovel an gloves if I were u back da f**k up and get out of meh f**king a**
The defense argued that Guyger deserved a lighter sentenced because she had acted out of fear. However, the prosecution posed the question about why she didn't use the other non-violent defenses on her at the time of the shooting. They also asked why she didn't radio for back up if she believed her house had been broken into. She said that the gun was the only option that had popped into her head at the time.
At the time, Jean had been inside his home, sitting on the couch enjoying a bowl of ice cream.
Jean's mother and sister testified at the hearing and Guyger took the stand as well. Mom Allison Jean said her life had completely changed and she prayed to just get by. "My life has not been the same. It's just been like a roller coaster. I can't sleep, I cannot eat. It's just been the most terrible time for me. I've been sick often. I have to try to keep the family together because everyone is in pain. I've had to seek counseling," she said. She said the last time she spoke to her son was the night before the murder and had last seen him in February that year.
Alissa Findley, the victim's sister also took the stand and said the whole incident had changed her father and her younger brother and they were just not the same anymore. "It’s like the light behind his eyes is off,” Findley said.
Guyger, speaking at the stand, said she had been "scared he was going to kill me." She added that her training had taught her to shoot to kill and that she intended to do so with Jean. She also said that as a police officer she was horrified that she had hurt an innocent person. "A police officer ever would want to hurt an innocent person. I feel like a terrible person. I feel like a piece of cr**. I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life. I feel like I don't deserve the chance to be with my family and friends," she said. Adding, she said, "I wish he was the one with the gun and had killed me. I never wanted to take an innocent person's life. I am so sorry. This is not about hate, it's about being scared that night."
Texas Ranger David Armstrong, who was the lead on the case, said he believed she had not committed a crime and that it was not uncommon for residents to be confused in the complex. In his interviews, he said, he had found that out of the 297 people who lived at the same apartment complex, 46 had gone to the wrong floor while 38 had walked into the wrong house in the third and fourth floors.
Under Texas law, she could be sentenced to five to 99 years in prison.