DALLAS (CN) – Dallas police yielded Monday to weeks of intense public pressure by firing the white, female police officer who shot and killed a black man inside his apartment that she mistook for her own.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced the firing of Amber Guyger, 30, after a short administrative hearing Monday morning. She said Guyger was fired for engaging “in adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter.”
Guyger has the right to appeal the firing under civil service rules. She was hired to the force in 2013 and was assigned to the city’s Southeast Patrol Division. She was arrested on Sept. 10 on a manslaughter charge and posted $300,000 bond.
Three days earlier, she erroneously entered the apartment of Botham Shem Jean, 26, that was one floor above her apartment at the South Side Flats apartment complex south of downtown Dallas.
Still in her uniform after coming off of a shift, Guyger allegedly gave commands to a figure in the unlit apartment before shooting and killing Jean. She allegedly did not realize she was in the wrong apartment until she turned on the lights.
Four days ago, Hall defended why she had yet to fire Guyger.
“As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation,” Hall said at the time. “That is not a risk I am willing to take. We cannot let the criminal case be determined on a ‘technicality’ rather than the facts.”
The Jean family’s attorneys, Lee Merritt, Ben Crump and Daryl Washington, said Guyger’s firing was “bittersweet” as Jean is scheduled to be buried this week in his native St. Lucia.
“While nothing can bring him back, DPD’s firing of Guyger is the first step towards justice by Botham Shem Jean,” the attorneys said in a statement.
The family’s attorneys have vigorously disputed the claim in Guyger’s arrest affidavit that Jean’s door was ajar, citing witnesses who claimed they heard a female voice commanding the door be opened.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings applauded Hall for making the “right decision in the interest of justice” for Jean and the city.
“The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust,” Rawlings said in a statement. “I know Chief Hall agrees with me on that and I appreciate her leadership.”
Guyger has not publicly commented since the shooting. Her attorney, Robert Rogers, of Dallas, said late Monday evening that she is “completely devastated” by Jean’s death, but blamed Hall for bending to outside pressure to fire her.
“What happened on September 6th was a tragic mistake and words can never express our sorrow for the pain being suffered by those who knew and loved Botham Jean,” Rogers said in a statement.
“Unfortunately, today Chief Hall bowed to pressure from anti-police groups and took action before all of the facts had been gathered and due process was afforded. That’s not the way our system of justice should work. It is important for all parties and the integrity of the justice system that a full and fair investigation be allowed to reach its conclusion before decisions such as this are made.”
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