“I have heard the calls for this action from many, including the Jean family, and I agree that this is right decision in the interest of justice for Botham Jean and the citizens of Dallas. The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent life is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust. I know Chief Hall agrees with me on that and I appreciate her leadership. Once again, she’s made the right call.”
Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who shot and killed 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment earlier this month, has been fired after an internal investigation found she “engaged in adverse conduct.”
Guyger was charged with manslaughter in the killing; she is currently free on $300,000 bond. During a community meeting, Chief U. Reneé Hall had said that she could not fire Guyger because of “federal, state, and local laws … civil service laws,” although WFAA found that department policy appeared to contradict that statement. According to DPD’s general rules, “The Chief of Police may circumvent all formal disciplinary procedures to render an immediate decision when it deems it necessary to preserve the integrity of the department.” Hall also argued that firing Guyger could impact the criminal investigation.
Guyger can appeal her firing through the city’s civil service rules. In a statement, the department says she was fired during a hearing Monday morning. It’s one of the many things that protestors have called for. Guyger was allowed to remain free for nearly four days after the shooting, a detail viewed by many as hypocritical.
Guyger has said that she parked on the wrong floor of her South Side Flats apartment in the Cedars and accidentally walked to the apartment directly above hers. Her arrest warrant says the door was ajar, and that she opened it when she inserted her key, saw a dark silhouette across the room, and fired her weapon after he ignored her commands. An earlier search warrant contradicts that narrative, saying that Jean was found dead closer to the door.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for the family, says he has spoken to numerous witnesses who reported hearing a woman’s voice shouting “let me in” followed by pounding on a door. Police are analyzing the digital door locks of both Jean and Guyger’s apartments to get a better idea of what occurred.
In a statement, Merritt said Hall spoke with him, his legal team, and Jean’s family during a conference call on Sunday afternoon. She “announced her intent to fire” Guyger, and said the decision had been delayed because a “premature administrative suspension could have possibly implicated Guyger’s fifth amendment protections and compromised the criminal prosecution.”
“The Jean family expressed satisfaction in this explanation and in Guyger’s termination,” the statement reads.
Guyger had been on administrative leave since the shooting occurred.
Mayor Mike Rawlings issued the below statement Monday afternoon: