A Mistake or a Home Invasion?
On September 6th, Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger walked into the apartment of her neighbor, (reportedly) began barking commands at the innocent, unarmed man who lived there, and then shot him twice. That neighbor, a 26-year-old man named Botham Shem Jean, died soon after. The apartment Officer Guyger had broken into was one floor above her own, apparently directly above where she lived. Guyger was off-duty at the time.
Obviously, Guyger had some ‘splainin to do after all that. Even cops have a hard time claiming a shooting is justified when you force your way into someone else’s home and shoot them for no conceivable reason. The explanation offered by Guyger didn’t do a lot to change that, either.
According to statements released by the department, Officer Guyger claimed that she arrived home after working and mistakenly went to the wrong apartment. After walking through the door, she reportedly saw Jean inside the apartment. Believing that she was in her own apartment, she then concluded that someone was robbing her and responded by shooting him.
Not surprisingly, most people weren’t too quick to accept that she couldn’t distinguish her own apartment from a stranger’s. Nor was the idea that she just shot the person who actually lived there very well received by the general public. Anybody with even the slightest ability to smell bullshit was not exactly rushing to accept excuses as shallow as those.
Fortunately for Officer Guyger though, her fellow officers and those who will find any reason to support the “Thin Blue Line” can ALWAYS be counted on to bail their own out (both figuratively and literally). Obviously, this holds true no matter how implausible their cover story might be or outrageous their crime is. It took three days before the pressure mounted enough to force the department to file charges against her. Even then, Guyger was only charged with the lesser charge of manslaughter.
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Constructing a Coverup From the Very Start
When you look at what was said in the initial statements released by the police, it’s very telling in hindsight. In fact, it becomes pretty obvious that almost immediately they were working to construct a narrative which would allow them to exonerate Guyger for her actions. Those initial reports included that she was returning home, in uniform, after having worked a 15 hour shift at the Dallas Police Department. For good measure, it was asserted that Guyger had issued verbal commands to Jean, which he had failed to follow.
As should be expected, all of the Cop Apologists dutifully latched onto those purported details and ran with them. Amber Guyger was no longer someone who, at best, recklessly walked into an innocent person’s house and overreacted by unnecessarily shooting them. Now she was a hero who was so tired from working long hours (to protect and serve you) that she couldn’t distinguish her own apartment from another.
Similarly, Botham Jean was no longer an innocent man who was attacked and killed in his own home without any justification. Instead, he was an unknown person engaged in what was perceived as a suspicious act, who had “refused” to follow the commands of an uniformed police officer. If Jean had just complied with Officer Guyger’s orders like everyone that doesn’t have something to hide does, his tragic, accidental death could have been avoided.
Blaming the Victim is the Name of the Game
The police “investigating” the crime were obviously looking for anything they could find to make it appear that Jean was responsible for his own death. If that (somehow) wasn’t already abundantly clear, the details released last week of what they were seeking when they filed for warrants is a pretty good indicator.
In spite of the fact that Guyger had no legitimate reason to be in Jean’s apartment that day, one of the things indicated on the warrants was that police wanted to search his apartment for drugs. Almost as if they were hoping to stumble across something (anything) they could used to make Jean out to be some sort of “thug” that deserved to be shot. It would also, of course, possibly provide them with an opportunity to paint him as someone who had a reason not to comply with the orders Guyger had reportedly directed at him. Thus bolstering the argument that he was acting suspicious.
By now anyone that’s paying any sort of attention should know that the go to tactic for cops when they want to cover up their own crimes is to trot out anything they can use to smear the name and reputation of the victim. If one of their co-workers chokes an innocent, unarmed man, who isn’t actually suspected of any crime, to death on the Las Vegas Strip, the next step is to hold a press conference and repeatedly refer to that person as “the suspect” while rehashing things they were arrested for (and in some cases not convicted of) over twenty years ago. After assaulting and falsely arresting a man they racially profiled, the next step is to search his car while stating, on camera, “we gotta find something” to justify it.
There’s even a precedent to such a fishing expedition by police trying to take the heat off one of their “Brothas.” Shortly after Officer Mohamed Noor shot and killed a 40-year-old woman dressed in pajamas, who had called 911, Minneapolis Police obtained a warrant to search her house. As I reported back in July of 2017, that warrant was written up in such a way that indicated they were hoping to find drugs or some sort of written indicator that she was experiencing mental health issues. Even though she was outside of the house when Officer Noor murdered Justine Damond, his co-workers obviously were hoping to find something that would allow them make the case that she was acting irrationally at the time.
Unfortunately for the supporters of Thin Blue Crimes, like Justine Damond before him, Botham Jean’s closets didn’t reveal any significant skeletons. Of course, that didn’t stop KDFW, the local Fox station in Dallas, from breathlessly heralding the DEVELOPING news that a tiny amount of pot had been found in Jean’s apartment during that search. Of course, nobody was actually very impressed with that DEVELOPMENT, since even if marijuana wasn’t completely harmless it would still be pretty irrelevant in regard to Officer Guyger walking into an innocent person’s home and shooting them.
A Possible Motive Found?
Meanwhile, there was no indication that any warrants were filed to search Officer Guyger’s apartment or car. In fact, it was reported that over the past weekend Officer Guyger was allowed to move to a different apartment. That and the delayed arrest affording her an opportunity to potentially destroy any evidence that might have been left in her old apartment. Nor was there seemingly any effort made to confiscate cell phones or computers she had access to. Such a search could determine if there were any communications that might indicate she had some motive to kill Jean.
And reportedly there more than likely was. According to S. Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Jean’s family, it has been confirmed that there were numerous noise complaints made against him. Those noise complaints against Jean, including at least one on the day of the shooting, apparently came from the floor directly below his. That, of course, is where Guyger lived at the time.
That could just be a giant, amazing coincidence. Or it could be the connection that shows Guyger not only knew Jean, but even had a motive to want to harm him. Somebody who’s armed and has a pretty good idea that they can get away with murder might have a bit of a short fuse toward that guy that they’ve already complained about continuously keeping them up after they’ve worked long hours protecting and serving. They might even forget which apartment they live in for a minute.
Meanwhile, the case is now due to be presented before a grand jury. Although grand juries are one of the favorite tools of the police and prosecutors to exonerate cops that have murdered people, with the attention and outrage this case has generated I’d be genuinely shocked if they took a dive on this one. There will likely be a show trial before Officer Guyger is cleared and given her walking papers so she can go get hired at some other department. In fact, Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has stated that the grand jury could even indict Officer Guyger on more serious charges than manslaughter. I wouldn’t hold your breath on that, though.
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Kelly is a lifelong resident of Las Vegas, who’s been very active in local grassroots activism, as well as on a national level during his extensive travels. He’s also the founder/main contributor of Nevada Cop Block, served as editor/contributor at CopBlock.org and designed the Official Cop Block Press Passes.
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Why don’t they just kill Amber Guyger? If she’s really that stupid she shouldn’t be alive right now.