Tag Archives: Botham Jean

FW cop’s resignation shouldn’t signal end of search for truth

It turns out the Fort Worth police officer who shot a woman to death in her own home realized he messed up in a huge fashion.

Former officer Aaron Dean has resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department. Had he not quit, he would have been fired, said Police Chief Ed Kraus.

Oh, brother. This is a nasty, heartbreaking story that needs a lot of answers to assuage the concerns of a shocked community.

Atatania Jefferson died from a gunshot wound inflicted by Aaron Dean, who was responding ostensibly on a “wellness” check in the wee hours in Jefferson’s Fort Worth neighborhood. Jefferson was black; Dean is white. To think as well that this incident happened so soon after the Dallas conviction and sentencing of a white former Dallas officer who shot a black man to death after she mistakenly thought the man was breaking into her apartment; she walked up t the man’s apartment.

Do you think the Fort Worth incident has folks riled up? Yep. It does … and with ample reason.

Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her nephew when Dean shot at her through a window.

So it is that Dean has quit. Chief Kraus has tacitly acknowledged the officer did something terribly wrong.

There needs to be a grand jury investigation into what went down immediately prior to the former police officer pulling the trigger and killing a woman sitting in her own home.

Let the grand jury hear the evidence and then decide whether to indict the officer. If he gets indicted, then the police department needs to have the handcuffs ready.

Atheist group needs to settle down

So now we hear that the Freedom from Religion Foundation is angry with a Texas trial judge because the judge gave a convicted murderer a Bible at the end of a sentencing hearing.

I believe I’ll weigh in with this: The atheist group needs to settle down and look for more egregious examples of public officials shoving religion down citizens’ throats.

District Judge Tammy Kemp presided over the trial of former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who a jury this week convicted of murder and then sentenced her to 10 years in prison. Guyger shot a man, Botham Jean, believing that Jean was an intruder in her apartment — except that she went to the wrong dwelling and shot Jean in his own place.

Botham Jean’s brother, Brandt, then spoke to the court after the jury sentenced Guyger to prison; he asked the judge if it would be all right if he could hug her brother’s killer. He said he forgave her. Brand Jean and Guyger embraced.

Judge Kemp’s gesture was meant to provide a level of comfort to a woman who is going to spend several years in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. The Freedom from Religion Foundation believes Kemp’s act of kindness is a form of foisting religion on citizens in a public place.

C’mon! Judge Kemp did not instruct Guyger to read the Bible and to adopt its teachings while she is serving her time. All she did was hand her a holy book. Period. Had she placed some sort of ludicrous caveat on her giving the Bible to Guyger, well, that would be different.

She didn’t. Judge Kemp sought to endorse in some fashion the compassion and grace demonstrated by the brother of the man Guyger had shot to death.

The atheist group needs to give it a rest.

Grace on full display in Dallas courtroom

This event renders me speechless. I cannot muster up a single bit of wisdom to add to what the world witnessed Wednesday in a Dallas courtroom.

A former Dallas police officer was convicted of murdering a young man, Botham Jean, who she thought was burglarizing her apartment a year ago. Except that she went to the wrong apartment and shot Jean to death in his own dwelling.

A district court jury took less than a day to convict Amber Guyger. Then the jury returned a prison sentence: 10 years in the slammer for the young former cop.

Without any warning, though, Botham Jean’s younger brother, Brandt, sat in the witness chair and said he harbored no ill will toward Guyger. He wished her “only the best” and said he didn’t want her “to go to jail.”

Then he asked District Judge Tammy Kemp, if he could hug Guyger. Judge Kemp, wiping away tears, agreed. Brandt Jean and Amber Guyger embraced for several seconds. It was a tight embrace. Guyger was weeping, knowing that her own tragic mistake had destroyed her life as she had built it.

What in the name of forgiveness does one make of such an act? That a young man could extend his own grace to someone who took the life of a dear loved one?

I guess we all should reassess our feelings toward those who have done us wrong over our own lifetimes.

That’s all I have.

What an amazing moment.

The jury speaks again: 10 years for ex-cop/murderer

I have been reluctant to comment on a pending case involving a former Dallas police officer who shot a neighbor to death believing he was burglarizing her apartment.

Tragically, Amber Guyger was wrong. She shot Botham Jean to death while he was sitting in his own apartment. A Dallas County jury this week convicted her of murder.

Then today, the jury came back with a prison sentence: 10 years hard time for the ex-officer.

I don’t like second-guessing jurors. They hear all the evidence. The rest of us sit out here in the peanut gallery, drawing our own conclusions based mostly on what we read in the papers or see on TV.

With that, I won’t weigh in on whether the 10-year prison term is enough, or is too much.

Guyger’s life as she knew it has been ruined. She made a tragic mistake a year ago when she thought she was returning to her apartment, only to shoot Botham Jean — a St. Lucia native — to death. She tried to enter his apartment on a separate floor from where she resided. How does that happen? I had asked that question from the beginning.

Well, it did. Jurors had the option of convicting Guyger of manslaughter, but decided to follow the district attorney’s lead and convicted her of murder.

Botham Jean’s family and friends have been delivered the justice they sought. The community can begin the process of healing from this terrible, tragic event.

As for Amber Guyger, well … she will get to reflect on the life-changing error she made that night. Ten years might not seem like enough time to spend behind bars.

Then again, Amber Guyger has shattered her own life, which might prove to be punishment enough.

Change of venue? Sure, but move it far, far away

Amber Guyger is going to stand trial — possibly soon — for murder. The former Dallas police officer this past September allegedly walked into a Botham Jean’s apartment and shot him to death reportedly thinking she had entered her own apartment.

The case has riveted many residents of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex, which makes a request for a change of venue so very interesting.

Guyger’s lawyers insist she cannot get a fair trial in Dallas County, where the case is set to be tried. They want a change of trial venue to a county other than Dallas County, citing “media hysteria” surrounding the case.

I am not going to argue for or against a change of venue. Indeed I can see why defendant’s legal counsel would want to change the trial location. However, the counsel should insist on moving it far away not just from Dallas County, but also from Collin County, Tarrant County, Rockwall County, Ellis County — or any part of the region served by the Dallas/Fort Worth media outlets that have been covering this case.

Send it to El Paso County, or to Orange County, or to Hidalgo County, or to Dallam County.

Yes, there is intense interest in this case.  A lot of the circumstances sound, shall we say, weird. Guyger was suspended at first from the Dallas Police Department and then was fired after she was indicted for murder in the death of Botham Jean, a native of St. Lucia who lived in an apartment on a separate floor from where Guyger resided.

Whatever the judge decides, my belief is that this case needs to go a lot farther away than just outside of Dallas County.