DALLAS (CN) — A white Dallas police officer was charged Sunday evening with manslaughter for killing a black male resident in an apartment she mistook for her own but was on the wrong floor.
Amber Guyger, 30, was booked into the Kaufman County Jail and released after posting $300,000 bond, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety. She was briefly listed on the Kaufman County Sheriff’s online database as being in custody, but was removed upon release.
Guyger shot to death Botham Shem Jean, 26, of St. Lucia Thursday night at the South Side Flats luxury apartment complex south of downtown Dallas.
Police Chief U. Renee Hall said Friday the “officer returned to what she believed to be her apartment after her shift had ended” and was still in her uniform. She said Guyger immediately called 911 after the shooting and first responders arrived within four minutes. Jean died at Baylor University Medical Center. Police have not disclosed details about the interaction between the two, if any, immediately before Jean was shot.
Hall said the department was preparing to file manslaughter charges but that she decided to call in the Texas Rangers to conduct an independent investigation into the “very unique situation” in this officer-involved shooting.
Jean was an employee at PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas and a 2016 alumnus of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas.
Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Jean’s family, complained late Saturday of the days-long delay in charging Guyger since the investigation was turned over to the Texas Rangers. He urged prosecutors and police to bring the charges if there is sufficient probable cause.
“The warrant that seemed to be looming was withdrawn,” he said at a press conference at a church. “From the things that we know, we are not exactly sure what has happened. We know from everyone we have spoken to today that there is at least enough evidence for a manslaughter charge and that there is likely evidence for even stiffer charges.”
He said Jean’s family is “frustrated, upset and grieving” that charges had not been filed yet, and claimed that police enjoy “deferential treatment.”
“We are not asking for anyone to jump to conclusions; we are not asking law enforcement to convict this person and deny them due process,” Merritt said. “We are asking they be treated like any other citizen where there is evidence they committed a crime.”
Merritt denied rumors on social media that Jean and Guyger knew each other, saying his relatives and police have told him otherwise.
Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and state Sen. Royce West asked Dallas residents at a news conference Saturday to be patient as the investigation runs its course. Rawlings said he had spoken to Jean’s family and expressed his deepest sympathies.
“We can hopefully take that positive spirit Botham had and [turn] this into a better city,” Rawlings said. “It does not look like we can because this is so painful, it’s so traumatic, but that is what his mother wants.”
West, a Democrat, said the shooting was “white on black crime” but that he does not know if it was a “race-related” crime.
“I would hold any type of decision you make on what happened until all of the facts come out,” he said. “There are so many facts that need to be looked at before determining what kind of homicide this is.”