Earlier today, we posted an item that was critical of the Dallas media’s coverage of Botham Jean’s killing by officer Amber Guyger. Toward the end of that post, its author, Barrett Brown, indulged in some of the same sort of speculation that has appeared on Reddit and Twitter and elsewhere concerning a then unidentified man in a picture with Guyger. The man, it seemed, was flashing white supremacist gang signs as Guyger hugged him. To interpret the signs, Barrett relied on an Anti-Defamation League database of hate symbols and on his own experience. Barrett himself spent four years in prison, much of it in close quarters with white supremacists.
After the post went up, we heard from the man in the picture. He initially would say nothing on the record. But, later, after we did a background check on him that verified details he’d given us, he decided to speak on the record.
Noe Garza is a 43-year-old brother-in-law of Guyger’s. He has known her since her late teens. Of the photo in question, he says the group was having dinner at Joe’s Crab Shack to celebrate a special occasion. “It was her father’s 69th birthday, so I did a 6-9. Plain and simple,” he said.
He initially didn’t want to be quoted because of harassment he and his wife have gotten. When he reconsidered, he said, “Please identify me by name. Because, bam, then it’s done.” He said he wanted to get the truth out there.
“Me and my wife have had to shut down our Facebook pages,” he said. “We had to start new ones. I have police — we’re on protective custody because someone found out who we were. There’s a cop out there watching our door, protecting us because of the repercussions or what may or may not have happened. Well, because of what happened. … You have no idea how much we’ve been harassed online. How much we’ve been destroyed online. The entire family is being called inbred white supremacists, which we are not.”
As for his sister-in-law, he said, “Amber is one of the most caring, loving, compassionate people you could ever know. She could be starving and get food and give it to somebody else to make sure they are OK. All she has done her entire life is to care about people. That’s why she became a cop.”