The jury in the trial of (former) Dallas police officer Amber Guyger took just a few hours to find her guilty of murdering her unarmed upstairs neighbor, Botham Jean.
The smell of fuckery was high in this one after the judge allowed the jury to consider the castle doctrine for a shooting in the victim’s home, but the jury seems to have been completely unbefuddled by that move. ETA: as commentor Momentary points out below, there’s some speculation that the instruction was given with an eye to appeal-proofing the verdict. IANAL, and have nothing useful to add to that thought.)
From the first story I found on the result:
Cheers erupted in the courthouse as the verdict was announced, and someone yelled “Thank you, Jesus!” In the hallway outside the courtroom where Guyger was tried, a crowd celebrated in raised voices. When the prosecutors walked into the hall, they broke into cheers.
Guyger faces between 5 and 99 years in prison. Court will resume at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
Not often a cop faces the full weight of his or her actions. Congratulations to the 12 women and men of that jury for seeing this one through.
Image: F. Luis Mora, The National Academy Jury of 1907.
*It’s possible I may not have caught the concept of “jury” perfectly here.
Dallas, not Houston.
Glad justice was done. May Botham Jean’s family be able to find some peace.
Save your cheers until after Guyger has been sentenced.
The sentencing hearing will be interesting because I can imagine there will be several people who read victim impact statements and those do have an impact.
At least his family got a conviction out of it, whether or not she gets a sentence commensurate with her actions remains to be seen.
I saw some commentary suggesting that the judge allowed the castle doctrine because she was confident the jury wouldn’t go for it and wanted to neutralise it as grounds for any future appeal.
I would not bet a dime on this outcome of the trial.
@Yarrow: Yes. Thanks. Fix’t.
She missed the vital step in police procedure, “Sprinkle some crack on him” after she shot him. Would have gone free if she could have remembered.
When I saw the headline, I thought “oh thank goodness” and then “they’ll find a way to let the cop skate”. Thugs and perps, and all that particular perp did, was kill an unarmed dark-skinned man, I mean, how can that be a crime?
I feel badly for her. Sworn to uphold the law she kills an innocent man in his own apartment, and has to live with that horrific tragedy for all her days to come because she fucked up in the worst way possible. 99 years won’t change that.
Botham Jean is dead.
That’s the reality and the person who shot him dead while he was sitting on his couch eating ice cream has been convicted of murder in his killing. Fuck her feelings because at least she’s still alive and at one point will walk away from custody.
Botham Jean is dead. That’s a far worse fate than being alive.
@Yarrow: I knew Dallas would pull through- it is a blue city
@BruceFromOhio: at least she gets to see another sunrise. I don’t feel bad for her in the slightest. What a fool.
@BruceFromOhio: Save your pity for the Victims
Ceci n est pas mon nym
@BruceFromOhio: I feel worse for him. He’s dead.
@BruceFromOhio: While I can empathize with someone who finds that their life is effectively over, at the end of the day she murdered her neighbor in his own home. When I consider people that “have to live with that horrific tragedy for all [their] days to come” I care a hell of lot more about her victims friends and family.
@HumboldtBlue: Yes. Why I cannot say “justice was served.” Botham Jean sounds like a wonderful man whose life was taken from him before he could make all the contributions he would have made.
But I am glad for the murder conviction, and that this jury did not copsplain it down to manslaughter.
Also, we really need to see that the police train themselves better on use of firearms. They are way too quick with lethal force and “fear for their lives.”
How about thanking the jury and the prosecutors? Jesus had nothing to do with it.
Was the allegation that it was intentional murder, or negligent?
@BruceFromOhio: If she felt guilt, then she could have pleaded guilty, maybe reduced to manslaughter. But she thought she’d get Cop Privilege in a trial, and lost.
@BruceFromOhio: I agree with you. She has to live with this, and probably knows what she did.
Although, the operative word there is “live.”
I believe the prosecution alleged she was texting with another officer just prior to the murder? Erotic texts and content?
And did the police ever test her for alcohol in the aftermath? I have not followed this case.
@Ksmiami: All the big cities in Texas are blue. Suburbs are blue or trending blue.
she should get as many years as Mr. Jean was when he was murdered.
There is still the loss of the victim, for whom family and friends still feel his absence.
At least let us now see to it that justice is done in full.
(here’s hoping the judge doesn’t throw the jury ruling over the rails)
I don’t feel sorry for her in the least: Amber Guyger was a trained professional law-enforcement officer (her skill-levels at that job notwithstanding) – that she shot Botham Jean as she did was at the very minimal least unconscionable carelessness. So she has to live with the consequences of her actions? Tough: Botham Jean doesn’t even have that option….
I feel badly for the honorable police officers, tricked into sleeping with underage prostitutes in police custody. They risk their health and their honor doing this, and really, what thanks do they get? I feel badly for the honorable police in Chicago who tortured confessions out of ostensibly innocent but clearly guilty-as-sin-just-look-at-em suspects — the stain on their souls will take a lifetime to wash away. I feel badly for the incorruptible police who found themselves stealing from drug dealers and selling the drugs on.
All honorable men and women in blue. Blue Lives Matter!
They waited 8 hours I think.
@rikyrah: I’d prefer she get as many as Jean had left in his life if he lived a standard lifespan, myself.
I think everyone agrees that this shooting was a horrible mistake, but it was a mistake borne of inattention, poor judgment, and a “shoot first, ask questions later” mentality too many cops today seem to have drilled into them. If Botham Jean had accidentally walked into a cop’s apartment and shot her dead thinking it was an intruder, would there have been any question that his ass would be going away for a hell of a long time?
I was going to say something similar. The castle doctrine defense seemed like a long shot, and it sounds as if the jury didn’t have much trouble seeing through it, so letting the defense present it seems to have worked out OK this time around. Letting the defense try this kind of thing is always a bit of a gamble, though, since there’s always a chance the jury will use it as an excuse to acquit. OTOH, a jury that was willing to do that would probably find some other excuse if the castle doctrine weren’t offered.
@Momentary: This is reasonable. It’s the mark of a good judge, imo, that allows the jury to consider multiple options. I’m actually surprised she was convicted of murder and not manslaughter, but I’m not an expert on such things.
Good. Hopefully this’ll make other cops think twice before pulling a trigger and possibly save a life or two.
Holy shit. I am one surprised cynic!
I thought for *sure* this was going to be an acquittal. And I can hardly believe that they convicted her.
A jury did the right thing, despite the weight of prejudice that tilted the scales against it.
The murder conviction seems to imply that she wrongfully intended to kill him, rather than just being an idiot. It has manslaughter written all over it. I wonder what the evidence was to move it from manslaughter to murder. The idea that she was innocent or had a right to shoot him based on mistakenly thinking it was her home was equally inane, but I do not see this an first degree murder. It does appear that she charged into the apartment commando style and shot him dead promptly, but that still does not make it murder.
I wonder if she turned down a deal to plead guilty to manslaughter because she thought she should go free.
IIRC, no. Or perhaps (my recollection is fuzzy) they only did so after a long-enough interval that her BAC readings were low enough to be irrelevant to the time of the shooting.
ISTR at the time of the murder, there was talk of some sort of history of tension between the two residents? Maybe something connected with noise complaints? Does everyone agree it was merely a horrible mistake?
I will never understand how she didn’t know she was in the wrong apartment. That must have been some steamy sexy-time texting for her to miss all the different signals. Plus, why didn’t she turn the light on before she shot someone? I’m gratified that she was found guilty – I was terrified she’d get away with the “female was terrified of the big black man she thought was in her apartment” defense. I’m glad his family got justice for his murder.
I feel sorry for her.
I also want her to gets AT LEAST 25 years, and that her guilty verdict was richly deserved.
@Chetan Murthy: Yeah, it was a horrible mistake alright
@Dmbeaster: I think it was the recklessness and the lack of adherence to training and procedure that tipped it over to murder. If you’re trained to be more cautious, then any deviance will (and SHOULD) go badly for your.
I have to say, I did not see this coming. When I heard about the castle doctrine jury instructions, I was all ready to be screaming about fuckery. I am so happy for his family that they are getting some justice. Let this be the first of many times a killer cop jury surprises the hell out of me.
@Dmbeaster: It makes me think of the second degree murder conviction in the Knoller dog mauling case in San Francisco — as in there is a level of reckless behaviour at which it’s just not reasonable to call it an accident.
@Mary G: It won’t. It’ll simply make them refine their coverup techniques. They’ll learn the lessons here (what did we fuck up?) and apply those going forwards.
It may be that Guyger’s entry into Botham Jean’s home was itself an illegal act, which bumped up the killing from manslaughter to murder. (But don’t take my word for it, because I went to the Television School of American Law.)
She testified under oath she intended to kill him when she pulled out her service weapon. My guess is that was enough to convince the jury she committed murder. I covered a case where a man drove 37 miles while under the influence, pulled up to the front yard of the man who was sleeping with his wife and shot him five times and killed him.
He was not convicted of first-degree murder.
He was convicted of second-degree murder after an outstanding defense by his public defender and was initially sentenced to 25 years to life, a sentence later reduced to 15 to life due to jury misconduct (one juror played the legal expert in the jury room and also spoke about the case outside of the jury room overheard by a gaggle of attorneys at the courthouse).
I have zero knowledge of Texas law but my guess she will get a sentence in excess of 10 years, but that’s simply a bald-faced guess.
I don’t think everyone does agree with that. IIRC, there was some indication that she knew Jean and had some bad interactions with him in the past, so there’s at least the possibility that this was a straight up premeditated murder and all the stuff about her being confused was just her pre-planned cover story.
@Momentary: I dont know Texas law, but its common to have different levels of homicide to reflect different degrees of wrecklessness. Murder is usually reserved for the highest level of intent, which seems to be absent here. Another comment above suggests there was evidence for a very different story, which may explain it.
Brett Virginia Kensington
This may be a welcome breach in the Blue Wall. I wonder if Albert Guyger would have walked free, though; I don’t think women officers enjoy the same sort of unquestioning solidarity, just as AA officers can’t expect all the protection the white guys get.
Brett Virginia Kensington
Moderation is weird…
I can think of a bunch of things that might have tipped it that way. The jury might have considered that she was supposed to be highly trained in exactly this kind of thing, so that she deserved to be held to a higher standard. They might have decided she was lying about everything and that made them suspicious about claims about her mental state. They also could have considered her failure to do anything to save his life after shooting him to be a sign she wanted him dead.
This Twitter user points out another ugly aspect to this case.
@Momentary: That was my take downstairs.
It was murder.
She walked into someone else’s home and shot him dead.
Was it a mistake on her part? Well yes it was. Is the man still dead? Yes he is.
Was he in his own home, minding his own business? Yes he was.
Did she have an reason to be there? No, she didn’t.
Killing someone in the wrong circumstances, for the wrong reason, is murder.
@Amir Khalid: You went to USC, didn’t you? :)
It’s nice to know there’s a line: cops can’t come into your house and shoot you while you’re eating ice cream in front of the tv and claim “fear for their lives”. That’s good to know. Had Botham been standing while talking into his phone (still in his own house) or standing in the hallway she could claim he moved in a threatening manner and shot him and got away with it. But chilling with ice cream (in his own home) is not a circumstance for self-defense.
@Dmbeaster: “It does appear that she charged into the apartment commando style and shot him dead promptly, but that still does not make it murder.”
When I read comments like this, I can’t help but look for the “haha” react as if it’s Facebook. Not even a, “what the fuck are you doing in my apartment” to a guy calmly sitting on the couch eating ice cream and not threatening Guyger in any way whatsoever. Just fucking shoot him dead and ask questions later. That’s the NRA vision for 21st century America and you’ve bought it hook, line, and sinker.
Why do I feel like you wouldn’t feel this sympathy for certain other murderers?
Awesome. I’d really like to know what happened. Was she blitzed out of her mind and officers covered it up?
@Elizabelle: “Copsplain” is my new word.
@HeleninEire: Yup. Made it up, but it fits.
As one commenter on different site said, would a male cop been found guilty? Unfortunate we have to think about such things.
(Haven’t read comments here yet. May have already been wondered.)
Good question: most of the initial reports I recall seeing from last year had said (I think) that then-Officer Guyger had been drinking with some cop pals after a long shift (and remember, she had gone home in uniform) – the “drinking” allegations seem to have faded away (what a surprise!); but, as noted above, the DPD were fairly dilatory about testing her BAC. And I’m guessing this verdict will dampen any enthusiasm for the Department to seriously look at, still less reform, their procedures…
@Ladyraxterinok: At least we know the answer to “would she have been convicted if the victim were black?”
I am very relieved. I hope this verdict brings some peace to Botham Jean’s family.
Wow. Absurdity is not yet dead.
@Ladyraxterinok: White dude would have been hailed as a hero for killing that ice cream eating pothead loser – “How dare that black dude relax in an apartment I thought was mine! Plus, I was scared – I mean, ice cream can be really cold and cause frostbite!” He would have shown up in full uniform, which this horrible woman couldn’t do because she got (correctly) fired soon after the incident.
Adam L Silverman
@Momentary: This is Texas. It has a high percentage of concealed weapons license holders, across party lines and across other demographics. It also has a lot of folks that have firearms for self defense in the home who don’t have a concealed weapons permit, as well as for hunting and shooting sports. It would be highly unlikely to get a jury in Texas that doesn’t have at least one concealed carrier on it and who doesn’t know what Texas’s castle doctrine is. There is no way it applied here as Guyger wasn’t in her own domicile, even if her defense was “she thought she was”. There is no way a castle doctrine defense would not be picked apart by a juror who conceal carries.
@Elizabelle: As I recall, he was absolutely squeaky clean in his life. Church worker, great student, etc. Very hard to paint him as the stereotypical ‘black male thug.’
@Ladyraxterinok: Hate to say that I was wondering the same thing, because I do think she deserved the verdict, just as I think ANY cop, regardless of sex, would have deserved the verdict. But we do as a society have a tendency to hold women to a much higher moral standard than we do men, and to judge them much more consistently and harshly for transgressing those standards, than we do men. It’s a fact.
Adam L Silverman
@BruceFromOhio: @TaMara (HFG): I would put money on something else was going on here other than in work created exhaustion she just happens to stumble into the wrong apartment on the wrong floor, drop her gear, startle the actual occupant, and then immediately shoot him to protect herself. I’m not disputing that she murdered him, she clearly did, but most of the details of this just don’t make sense. There’s context here that we’re not seeing.
West of the Rockies
You are insinuating something ugly about a long-time commenter here. I don’t know BiO, but your comment is unfair.
I’m glad she was convicted. May she face a very long sentence. May this be another unraveled thread in an all-too-large tapestry of police abuse of power.
The victim will be missed. I hope all sorts of people find strength, grace, inspiration, and redemption through this tragic and horrific event.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
By castle doctrine did the judge mean the traditional three days of rape, pillaging and murder troops successfully assaulting a fortification were allowed? I never figured the Sack of Rome in 1527 would be held as a legal precedent.
@Adam L Silverman:
She was drunk. That’s the part that’s missing, her cop buddies whisked her away from that scene as fast as they could. Hell, they had her apartment cleaned out and her in a new place within days of the murder.
@Roger Moore: The police and Texas Rangers took (I think) 3 days to interview her. By then she had already met with multiple lawyers and other police. So her regarding her story being concocted: it is entirely possible.
@Adam L Silverman: Living in the suburbs of Dallas, I’ve had to follow the story whether I wanted to or not.
There is a lot to her story that does not make sense. There are a couple of witnesses that do not corroborate her turn of events. One heard her yelling ‘Let me in!’ and pounding on the door right before the gunshots sounded.
@HumboldtBlue: Sad but true. : (
Adam L Silverman
This is an unfortunate effect of some really bad law enforcement training that is both done by and based on the work of one guy and his law enforcement research institute. The guy has a made up PhD, created his own discipline of criminal justice/criminology, makes up his own data, and is considered a crank. But he’s the go to expert witness for law enforcement who have to defend themselves in use of force cases. A lot of times he gets thrown out once the court gets informed of his background, but that only happens, of course, if his credentials are challenged. Regardless, he and his people are out training law enforcement that waiting to assess a situation is signing your own death warrant. Therefore, you must utilize deadly force as quickly as possible in order to protect yourself and your fellow officers.
@Roger Moore: She knew that someone one was in what she thought was her apartment before she opened the door. She drew her gun and opened the door with the intent to kill whoever was behind the door. She did not have to enter that apartment. They could consider that “castle doctrine” that you are allowed to shoot any damn girl scout selling cookies as trespassers, but it doesn’t apply, here. She opened the door and immediately opened fire because her intent was to shoot first and ask questions later. That’s not manslaughter.
Reading more about how the judge handled the trial, I have to commend her for keeping tight reins, including dealing with the DA for holding a TV interview on the trial’s eve–an interview that could have triggered a mistrial.
Repeating myself from the previous thread, Dallas PD needs to reconsider having cops pull 14-hour shifts. They have some responsibility here.
@Adam L Silverman: I know. Who is the guy?
Adam L Silverman
@Brett Virginia Kensington: Bienvinidos a Balloon Juice y Florida!
I feel badly for the dead guy.
@Yarrow: I know I live in Dallas – now we just need to switch the votes in the hinterlands
@Enhanced Voting Techniques: British sack (after long siege) of Badjoz in Peninsula War.
I might find that remotely plausible if there is a comparable instance of the Judge making a similar ruling in the case of a black suspect and a white victim.
Justice was not done until you hear the sentence. Just as a reminder.
@BruceFromOhio: *squint* So much work to be done.
Adam L Silverman
@HumboldtBlue: I got the drunk or at least impaired part, but that still doesn’t provide all of the larger context here. There is still context missing. I don’t think the context, should it ever be revealed, would change the outcome or even make anything better. And I’m not defending her. I think the verdict was just and the outcome of the trial appropriate.
Adam L Silverman
@trollhattan: Did you see the video clip of the judge when she was informed of that. I thought she was going to throw her shoe at him.
@r€nato: Let people have this.
How does the ‘Castle Doctrine’ work when you aren’t even in your own Castle?
@kindness: whiteness is a hell of a drug
Adam L Silverman
@Elizabelle: Bill Lewinski.
@Adam L Silverman:
There’s plenty of evidence that something else was going on. There was some history between the two, possibly related to noise complaints, and there were two witnesses who claimed she was banging on the door demanding to be let in before the shooting. It sure as hell sounds as if her story was a bunch of excuses rather than a serious attempt at telling the truth of what happened.
Adam L Silverman
@kindness: There’s a mobile parapet clause in case one is confronted by a trebuchet about 300 yards off.
It’s the white lady exception.
@Adam L Silverman:
And I agree with your latest comment again about context. We will never know because of the way her cop buddies handled her and the scene.
@Adam L Silverman:
Yup, she’s One Tough Judge and I’m impressed the DA did not lose one or more precious body parts.
A link for anybody who has not seen it.
She was trying to extend it to cases where you honestly believe you’re in your own castle.
“If you think it’s your castle….”
Florida probably considering language to include the above, as I type it.
@Adam L Silverman: Thank you. I’d heard of the weasel, but could not remember the name. (Mercifully.)
From what I have gathered, the judge allowed the defense to use the castle doctrine defense if they wished because it can no longer be used in any appeals. In essence, the judge banked on the jury seeing through the nonsensical argument.
@germy: Wasn’t her whole story that she was too drunk to navigate the parking garage, or read apt. #s, or notice the different apartment decorations, etc? (Not too drunk to fire the killing shot)
@sigyn: She claimed a 14 hour shift, plus intense sexting with her partner.
This is a crime right here.
Of course it’ll be a frosty day in hell before American cops get prosecuted for investigative malfeasance for one of their own. Cop Privilege.
IIRC it’s only for on-duty shootings, but in a lot of places police officers are specifically protected against being questioned immediately; they have a right to talk to a union rep and a lawyer before they have to answer any questions.
Enhanced Voting Techniques
@Roger Moore: Or… implying something else, like she had a reason to think she was welcome in the apartment. I mean this all coming across like the horrible end to a relationship that went bad and the only thing that’s unusual is the victim was the man involved and not the woman.
Adam L Silverman
@trollhattan: I realize the judge is not Latina or Hispanic and that this video is tongue in cheek satire, but I imagine it would have looked something like this:
I think the telling part in all of this, if THIS was an honest mistake, and she realized that she had erred grievously, then she should have done everything in her power to try and right that wrong, she would have applied first aid, she would have yelled/screamed for help….
she didn’t do any of that…. it may not be murder in the classic sense of hot blooded emotional vendetta-like rage, but the response after the fact speaks just as loudly as actions that led up to it…
which is what Cops are supposed to do as far as I understand it, protect and serve….
I don’t know why being drunk when she shot him would be considered a defence or even a mitigation.
@Adam L Silverman:
LOL, watch out!
Good to know certain Iraqis adopted it. :-)
Adam L Silverman
@trollhattan: In Florida, wherever you are legally, is, essentially, your castle. It is the premise for the no duty to retreat part of the Baxley Amendment that created Stand Your Ground in Florida.
Adam L Silverman
@ruemara: ooo baby, you give the best ampersands… ooo…//
Adam L Silverman
@Mike G: @Roger Moore: Texas has a Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Right.
@piratedan: I’m with you.
The Moar You Know
@jonas: I don’t. Nothing about what happened qualifies as a “mistake”.
“Depraved indifference to consequences” would come closer.
@Adam L Silverman:
Regarding the crank use-of-force trainer/expert witness, do you have a reference? I’ve long suspected people were making money telling cops to be more lethal and less accountable, be great to read up on that.
Adam L Silverman
@grumbles: See my reply to Elizabelle at comment #93. It has three news articles – one from Madison, WI, one from the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, and one from the NY Times – and a blog post by an attorney that delineate everything.
obviously the key factual distinction between this case and other questionable police shootings is that she was off duty and in no way working in a professional capacity at the time. the big thing that gets people off the hook is that on duty aspect
@Chetan Murthy: yeah, these witnesses, some of the false statements by the officer (the door was ajar, when the complex has self-closing doors), and the failure to even try CPR make this seem like more than a horrible mistake. glad the victim is going to get some justice.
@BruceFromOhio: to be honest, I’m not sure her version of events is something we can completely trust. And the only way to feel sympathy for her is to completely buy her version of the tale. I’m extremely skeptical it was the whole truth.
Maybe they meant the “Castile Doctrine”.
@rikyrah: @PenandKey: Those seem more like calls for vengeance than justice.
@Omnes Omnibus: yeah, this was a heinous crime, but the murderer isn’t a career criminal. people screaming for the maximum penalty ought to think about how that kind of logic works out in the big picture — it’s why the USA has such a relatively large prison population
@Dmbeaster: You think a lot of murderers aren’t just being idiots? You think idiocy is somehow a defense to intentional conduct? She charged into an apartment and intentionally shot someone who was unarmed. Giving her the full benefit of the doubt, she intentionally used lethal force and her justification did not do anything to mitigate the unreasonableness of that conduct. I could see the jury convicting her of a lesser included offense, but I don’t think they were unreasonable in reaching the verdict they did.
In the same vein of cop behavior, a co-worker told me of her terrifying encounter this past Sunday. She was driving with her boyfriend in the front seat and a woman in the back, in the very heavy traffic from the mountains (it is peak aspen fall colors right now, so heavy traffic to and from Denver all weekend). The car in front of them brake-checked her twice, though they were just as close as everyone else was in that traffic. When it changed to 4 lanes she passed this woman who did the brake-checking, who proceeded to flip her off and then make a “shooting a gun” gesture at my co-worker, who unfortunately did the same thing back followed by a “you’re crazy” gesture. This woman kept following, driving erratically to keep up and then my co-worker comes up on traffic being stopped in both directions with 8 police cars waiting for them. That woman told the cops that my co-worker had been running people off the road and there was a guy in the back seat waving a gun at cars, so the 8 cop cars and officers with automatic weapons shouldered were waiting for my co-worker. Let’s see, being forced to kneel on the road and be cuffed, separated to extract stories/confessions, demanding to know if they’d “let the shooter out”, etc. After 30 minutes of this, a closed highway and ripping everything out of her car and tossing it on the ground, nothing was found and they were let go. When the cops called the reporting individual, she didn’t answer that call, and apparently making this kind of near-Swatting call isn’t something the cops are going to pursue.
She told us this story yesterday morning and everyone said the same thing: “good thing you are white or you could have been killed”.
Counselor, seriously, just STFU and stop pretending to superior morality on this one.
@Adam L Silverman:
My spidey sense suggests that they had a prior relationship, or some sort of interaction, that didn’t end well. I think the witnesses mentioned by Chetan Murthy above are important: no apparent motive to lie and unlikely to both be “mistaken” in the same way.
@Cacti: that’s exactly what you’re doing, at least they’re honest about it
West of the Rockies
To protect and serve is something of a bromide, a fairy tale, a thing we want to believe.
It’s not an easy job (LE). It is an important job. But as an industry, from recruitment, training, advancement, etc., it has a LOT of very flawed dynamics, decision makers, and directives. Toxic masculinity, bigotry, racism, homophobia… All too present.
@Steeplejack: I know there was speculation but I don’t think they ever really found anything to back it up. There were inconsistencies in her account, especially when juxtaposed with the testimony of others, e.g., knocking on the door. It suggests that she killed him when he opened the door. That can never be okay even if someone is in your apartment.
I actually watched her testimony and the cross examination. She was not a compelling witness, but there’s no doubt she was distracted as she approached that apartment. Texting her married lover, perhaps tired at the end of a shift. Mix that with carrying a weapon and the chance for horrific disaster is heightened to the extreme. The fact that she was a police officer is probably what got her convicted. She was trained to respond in such a situation. I’m glad she was convicted, but what scares me is an ordinary citizen who has no business carrying a gun around might have gotten away with this.
“His home was not her castle.”
No, you moron, it’s because the USA has a criminal justice system that is root and branch designed to railroad people who look like the late Mr. Jean, at the hands of ones who wear the uniform of former officer/convicted murderer Guyger.
If your point is that the US penal system is overcrowded with white women, you’re massive head trauma stupid.
@Cacti: that’s some sweet sweet moral high groundery right there chief. Not very convincing though, imo. The fact is, the overwhelming majority of the prison population are people who committed some kind of awful and heinous crime. The US has a significantly higher rate of crime, especially violent crime, than countries of similar income levels. It also has a significantly tougher sentences on average.
The idea that it’s okay to throw the book at somebody because there aren’t a lot of people that look like them in prison is quasi fascist reasoning. Justice isn’t supposed to concern itself with the ethnic identities of its wards.
I feels ya.
US prisons are overcrowded with black and brown men.
So let’s be sure we take it easy on the white lady.
How far up your own ass can you climb?
J.D. Miles (@jdmiles11) Tweeted:
Prosecutors now plan to introduce Amber Guyger’s DPD personnel file against her during punishment phase of her murder trial. She had been involved in a police shooting, disciplined for adverse conduct, cited for a chase policy violation and others during her 5 year career https://t.co/bhFqQTUZLT https://twitter.com/jdmiles11/status/1179105860745912326?s=17
@Dmbeaster: Apparently she let him bleed out and offered no assistance after she shot him. That is very damning.
@Miss Bianca: Exactly. It put me in mind of the Abu Grahib soldier/officer convictions. Also Martha Stewart.
@Adam L Silverman: Sir.
@Omnes Omnibus: A life for a life. She intentionally went into a man’s apartment and murdered him. She still gets to live.
I think trial testimony revealed that he was “across the room” when she shot him, not at the door. But everyone seems to be accepting the premise that she fired immediately. It would be interesting—but pointless at this late date—to get more precision on the witness’s statement: “Then shortly thereafter she heard gunshots.”
West of the Rockies
Good. That’s all relevant information that points to a person with a history of bad decision-making.
She did text her partner right away though, to help with the cover up.
I guess he didn’t have any vials of crack handy.
@Steeplejack: My only point is that if she was knocking at his door and waiting for someone to answer then it doesn’t make sense for her to have shot him across the room. Maybe she was knocking and the door was unlocked so she went in and shot him immediately. It is also possible that witnesses heard other tenants knocking, because it isn’t always clear where noise is coming from. If she shot him from across the room, she clearly was not facing any imminent harm from him.
Manslaughter = “I knew he might die and I did it anyway”
Murder = “I tried to kill him”
Murder 1st deg. = “I planned the killing”
This is Murder because she intended to kill him.
@Cacti: if you think meting out a harsh sentence on certain kinds of people alleviates harsh sentences on other kinds of people, you’re mistaken
@Adam L Silverman:
Super comforting. //
Adam L Silverman
@Steeplejack: Isn’t that, technically, your steeple sense?
This is my shocked face that even on “woke” and “progressive” BJ, commenters go weak at the knees for a nice white lady who just happened to murder a black man eating ice cream on his couch.
Complexion for protection indeed.
It would have been good in the first instance to take a picture of her car and plates. Then when it happened, they can provide the plates and the picture of the woman, and also show the GPS/google maps thing. Then file charges against her. The police can also do the same thing.
I think it is now important that we get documentation.
That finger bang thing, that happened to me too when I got off the flier in Boulder, was walking by, and some guy sitting by his house gave me the eye and did a finger bang at me. Also got harassed by cops later. I no longer go to Boulder because it is a pretty racist place. I have been all over the place, including parts of Indiana and I have never been treated that way in my 50 years of existence.
@cain: Yes. I was thinking the same thing. Keep your cell phone ready and use it for photos. Although it can be hard to engage the camera function while you’re in traffic. Safety first.
There were three people in that car, though. Take out your cell phones and record.
I think we’re agreeing past each other. There is a lot about the case “narrative” as finally distilled that doesn’t add up. But I guess it’s moot at this point, because a verdict has been reached.
Interestingly enough, usually in this case, the defense will start oppo researching the victim looking for crimes and other stuff. He must have been squeaky clean because otherwise there would be “He was a thug anyways!” Like they did with Trayvon Martin.
hells littlest angel
You can get as little as five years for murder in Texas? Well, I’ve got a good idea what a graph of sentences by skin tone would look like.
Shee-yut. Once again, we have to frickin’ film everything as we wander through this life, if only to refute the chronic liars walking/driving among us.
A buddy recently had a coot chase him down for blocks to yell at him for “cutting me off!!!!” (he hadn’t) and who punched my friend in the face as he sat in his minivan. Called him “fag”, told him to stop dying his hair (he doesn’t), and claimed to be a Marine who “taught our troops how to kill in Iraq” and who won’t tolerate “sissies cutting me off in traffic.”
Friend grabbed his arm at the second punch attempt, bent it across the window frame and threatened to break it off if he didn’t get the fuck out of Dodge. That eventually seemed to work, but now he has somebody else to watch out for in his neighborhood.
Kinda where I am at, too …
…however, in the end, I generally always defer to a jury. I wasn’t in the courtroom, not for me to Monday Morning QB.
@Jay: Despite his recent screw-ups, if he actually delivers the Donbass region to Russia, Trump may just get that bonus out of his next performance review with Putin.
@Adam L Silverman:
@rikyrah: And was kept on? Good grief
I’m certain that was the first move of her lawyers and all of her cop buddies.
Don’t ever stop being a fucking weirdo. It suits you.
@Cacti: You think I am calling for a light sentence for the cop? No, not at all. I just want a sentence based on the law not popular opinion.
@Cacti: I’m not weak at the knees at all. The facts of the case call for a lenient sentence within the range of what a homicide conviction is. She wasn’t a career criminal. And there’s no evidence in the case that this was some pattern of behavior for her. It’s a homicide. She deserves some amount within the range of years for homicides for that district. I don’t contest any of that.
But the clear facts of the case — the same facts that convict her — also indicate that she deserves a sentence at the lower end of that range. I’m sorry that you think the criminal justice system is supposed to be used to scapegoat certain defendants to be crucified for greater social ills. But I’m not a fascist like that.
@Ladyraxterinok: I was going to wonder something similar.
@cain: I know something about his famly. He was a model citizen. Tragic loss.
IANAL, but I think that in most places, if you kill someone while committing a different crime, you get charged with murder, not manslaughter. Since she was trespassing on his property, that may be the rationale.
hedgehog the occasional commenter
@StringOnAStick: Fucking hell.
The police did search his apartment and found a small amount of marijuana—oops, sorry, the reefer!
The theme of the day seems to be that we here in the BJ peanut gallery suddenly hate black people.
I’m not sure where this is coming from, but I’ve been pretty busy lately and haven’t been keeping up.
Is that your story, Cletus? Or what, your momma dropped you on your goddamn head a few dozen too many times when you were an infant? Dumbshit. Go read a fuckin’ book. Or Wikipedia, before you spout off your racist bullshit.
From Wikipedia, on crime and incarceration in the US
By no stretch of the imagination is 52% “the overwhelming majority”, and that’s not including the federal prison population. Jesus H. Fucking Christ.
But none of those numbers matter, nor should they. This was a FUCKING COP who MURDERED an innocent civilian doing NOTHING WRONG. If you can’t understand why society has a interest in deterring EVERY FUCKING MURDERER COP from doing this sort of shit, I don’t know what to say, other than THANK GOD you got dropped on your fuckin’ head so many times.
Aha! Dallas PD reported that they found 10 grams of pot in his apartment. Like that’s going to mean anything. Cannabis is legal in a lot of states now and continues expand. The family accused the Dallas PD of trying to smear him. So yes, there was shenanigans going on. It would not surprise me if they even planted it to protect their own.
@cokane: No, she walked into someone else’s home and shot him for no reason. From what I know at this time, I would lean towards the upper half of the range. My issue was not with calling for a long sentence, but in what I thought was the reason for that call.
Not sure. For example, if I were to drive intoxicated (and, FWIW, I haven’t had any significant levels of alcohol and driven in more than 30 years, so I could be wrong) and kill someone, I think that’s manslaughter. I could easily be wrong.
It is a rarity when I drink and drive at all. Occasionally a single beer and drive. That’s about it.
(cough) Bullshit (cough)
Which clear facts might those be? Her version of events that was rejected by the jury?
I have to ask, does her blondeness count as an additional mitigating factor, or does she only get partial credit because it’s fake?
It’s called the felony murder rule.
In most jurisdictions, if you’re committing a non-homicide felony, but it results in the unlawful killing of someone during its commission, you’re on the hook for murder.
@Chetan Murthy: it’s telling that a lot of folks cannot argue their points without a fusillade of ad hominem. in fact, the ad hominem tends to take up most of the literal space of their arguments.
it’s important to note the shifting nature of incarceration. most drug incarcerations dont even last a calendar year. and so in any individual moment of time, yes, a high percentage of drug offenders are incarcerated. but, calculated over an entire year, the total amount of time being served — and importantly the reason that prisons fill up — is because of long sentences. And long sentences usually require some violent element to the crime.
In fact if you read …. a little further, instead of just the quote that supported you: ” In 2000, 22 percent of those in federal and state prisons were convicted on drug charges.” And “Also in 2011, 3.7% of the state prison population consisted of prisoners whose highest conviction was for drug possession”
Doesn’t really sell the idea that drug charges are driving up the population does it? Lastly, drug-related crime fuels violent crime.
@Cacti: Not her version of events. Her record’s lack of past criminality. We don’t have to trust a single word she said for my facts to be true.
You’re the one obsessed with who she is and what she looks like. You’re projecting that on to me.
Probably the best they could come up with on short notice.
The Thin Black Duke
You will NEVER hear a black person saying something stupid like, “I feel sorry for her”, OK?
Just as a matter of precedent, what do you think murder cases are going to do to black defendants in the future in this district? If this high profile case hands down a heavy sentence?
Oops. Doesn’t sound like she was very clean at all.
Her buddy cops just kept it under wraps.
@Cacti: We’ll see what the facts of those are. Nobody’s covering anything up here though, or you wouldn’t know about these things.
Not to pile on, but someone has a reference above to her previous actions on the job that the prosecution will be bringing up during sentencing, including a prior (I think non-fatal) shooting.
It sounds like this wasn’t just a single, terrible mistake on her part. It was part of a larger pattern of bad behavior both on and off the job.
Christ there are a lot of monsters on Maple Street today.
@Mnemosyne: One shooting for a beat cop who worked for five years isn’t exactly shocking, nor indicative of a pattern of behavior. You don’t even know the first fact about that incident. Obviously it’s the prosecutor’s job now to use any evidence they can to try and pursue a maximum punishment, just as they already pursued the maximum criminal charge.
@cain: Boulder is too damned rich and too damned white, plus it takes itself very, very seriously as such a peaceful place. I’m as blonde and white as they come, and I find Boulder to be racist unless you’re the current flavor of the week like Nepali or better yet, Tibetan.
My co-worker thought the whole “flip off and make shooting motion” thing was just some stupid thing and no big deal; it never crossed her mind to snap a photo of the car or license plate. Her boyfriend has a very high security clearance because of his job (and had to report this whole event to his boss), and it didn’t cross his mind either because both just figured it was typical Denver area road rage crap. By the time they realized they were about to get SWATted, that woman was long gone because the cops didn’t make her stop to fill out a report or anything. I think she should get a lawyer over this, but she can’t afford that. The whole thing was utter bullshit that could have ended with all 3 of them dead.
One shooting is not indicative of a pattern of behavior. Disciplinary action on her record for several different incidents that point to her acting recklessly on the job does point to a pattern of behavior.
She decided that she was above the law because she’s a cop. Fortunately, a jury of her peers decided otherwise.
The conclusion does not follow from the evidence.
@Mnemosyne: don’t disagree that it was clearly a homicide
I remember the photo someone found of Guyger posing with her family (before the shooting) and one of the dudes is flashing the white power “OK” sign.
@Elizabelle: “… that this jury did not copsplain it down to manslaughter.”
Which would still be more severe than ‘feared for his/her life’, ‘shiny metallic object’.
@The Thin Black Duke: I know.
I am haunted by Botham Jean, who sounds like a fabulous person. What an incredible loss. And Trayvon Martin. Always.
This has to stop.
I’m glad that the decision was to convict. I find myself wishing that all police weren’t lumped in the same bucket when these egregious incidents occur. All police departments aren’t the same, and within a department all officers aren’t the same. My lefty daughter is a rookie cop in the LAPD, and is thoughtful about these issues. Recruitment there seeks out diversity, and her academy experience emphasized use of force policies that seemed reasonable. They learned to use a sandbag gun and a rubber bullet gun that are expected to be used as non- lethal preferred alternatives. She has told me there is a military mindset among many officers…many are vets… And conservative politics are common.
@Adam L Silverman: Speaking of context mattering, Adam you and I exchanged some words some words a couple of months ago on one of the post-shooting threads regarding my uncle’s death at the hand’s of another man in Americus. As I intimated in at the time, there was/is a lot more to this crime than the initial reporting suggested.
I’ve been waiting for a couple of days for a thread that seems appropriate to share last week’s news, which is that the Georgia Bureau of Investigation arrested Bill Brewer for the felony murder of my uncle last Friday. His wife, who is also up to her neck in this mess, was also arrested for making false statements to investigators. This was – not surprisingly a happy day for our family, especially my cousins, who’s dogged refusal to let this go played a huge part in last week’s arrests.
And now this news out of Dallas gives me some small degree of hope that justice may in fact be served (even though the venue will inevitably be somewhere in south Georgia). As I understand it, when presented with the evidence gathered the DA declined to send this to the Grand Jury and told the GBI to go ahead and arrest him.
Here is the press release from the GBI: https://gbi.georgia.gov/press-releases/2019-09-27/arrest-made-sumter-county-murder
And here are their ugly fucking faces: https://wgxa.tv/news/local/gbi-man-woman-charged-in-sumter-county-murder
@bemused senior: Yea for your daughter! I wish she would post here. (Like she’s got time.)
J R in WV
Have not read the news storied, nor the comments, but am glad that this stone cold murder was judged and juried for what it was.
And I am, for one, so very happy for the quickly-delivered verdict against Mr. Jean’s murderer.
They’re arguing that Castle doctrine gives you the right to shoot someone in their home now?
West of the Rockies
I’ve revealed here previously that was a non-sworn CSI/evidence tech for 13 years (’89-’02) before leaving to teach CC English. You’re right about there being some good, dedicated people in the field. But there is also much to bemoan.
This is puro bullshit. The vast majority of officers never pull their weapons during their entire careers. And all but the rarest few fire them. Except maybe at the firing range. It is a super rare event, although sadly becoming more frequent. Or maybe happily becoming less hidden.
Don’t let your TV view of police life cloud reality.
@The Thin Black Duke: Understood, and I apologize for my disrespect.
@Jinchi: Given that the jury convicted, the answer is no.
J R in WV
Fixed that for you… but even if it was his reef, irrelevant to this crime committed against him. He was eating ice cream…
Here’s the thing: there’s something called a “pattern of bias” in your comments. They’re consistently biased towards two things: (1) ooga-booga about all the other prisoners in the system, and (2) minimizing the crimes of this rogue murderer cop.
Gosh I wonder why that is, really I do.
@Immanentize: It is possible to simultaneously think that (a) police shootings are rare; (b) each innocent person who gets shot is one to many, and (c) police forces have a culture problem that sorely needs addressing.
Hmmm… that seems to be one too many items for black-and-white thinking. Guess a lot of people won’t be interested…
They are. The big picture is that systematically the police are almost never punished for committing murder. Even assuming you were correct in you statement that the objective rules of this case call for a lighter sentence – and the only claim you have made has been debunked – the big picture is exactly what argues against you. Harsh sentences for police committing murder moves the system in a better direction. A balance where everyone is treated harshly is still an improvement over one side being freely able to murder the other.
@Frankensteinbeck: Leos by their training and position should be held to a higher standard than the public anyway.
But they’re not. 678 shooting deaths by police so far this year, and that’s not counting those who were shot but survived.
Karen Hunter (@karenhunter) Tweeted:
The jury that heard the case against Amber Guyger had 5 black people on it. They apparently weren’t having the last-minute shenanigans with that “stand your ground” nonsense. When called, please serve on a jury. It’s one more protection against injustice. https://twitter.com/karenhunter/status/1179080192750432257?s=17
@JustRuss: Rare in comparison to the number of police officers.
J R in WV
I’ve never attempted to get out of jury duty, especially since I got paid time off work when on jury duty. It was pretty good unless the details of the crime were awful. I felt for the guy who was assigned to night shift work so as not to miss any work while at the jury for the daytimes. He was stretched to the limit!!
@J R in WV: I’ve been put in the large jury pool that has to call on Sunday night to see if they are part of the the group that has to show up in person. No more than that. I am pretty sure I will never actually sit on a jury though.
@Dmbeaster: I haven’t kept up with the story, but I recall noises that she knew him (and may have even dated him?). It has always felt to me that there was much more going on than just an accident. NPR from November 2018:
Too many cops have no business having guns, IMHO.
@Another Scott: And I think the cops who should not have guns help put the better cops in the crosshairs.
I am sad about the first Sikh officer who was killed, shot in the back, in Houston. Although I do not know the shooter’s motives, nor was there any reason to kill a peace officer and father of three young children.
But there should not be “the blue line” and then the rest of us “civilians”, as they would prefer to divide us all.
@Adam L Silverman: Thank you for pointing that out. I’m only surprised you were the first to do so.
That is not allowed to brought out in the trial. However, it will be presented in the sentencing phase.
@Ladyraxterinok: But not impossible. I know some folks who are probably doing it right now.
Late to the party, and I may have to take this to a history blog, but “3 days of sacking” if a city falls to assault seems to crop up everywhere. I first read it in Babi Yar, set in WWII, where the author’s grandmother (?) tells him that the Wehrmacht will be looting and killing people for 3 days after their city (Kiev?) falls, and only gets worried when the killing doesn’t stop, Just how widespread was this tradition?.
@BruceFromOhio: she didn’t just fuck up in the heat of the moment. she walked into the apt knowing someone was in there, when she didn’t have to, and having caused herself to fear for her life, took a life in response. her tears are for show only, she doesn’t feel the weight of her crime yet. maybe someday she will, and that is what I wish for her: plenty of time in prison to contemplate.