Dallas officer accused of fatally shooting neighbor has been fired

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, charged in fatal shooting of unarmed neighbor Botham Shem Jean, Photo Date: 2018 / Photo: Kaufman County Jail / (MGN)
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DALLAS (AP) — A white Dallas police officer who fatally shot her black neighbor inside his own apartment was fired Monday, the same day the man was being buried in his Caribbean homeland.

Police Chief U. Renee Hall dismissed Officer Amber Guyger during a hearing Monday, according to a statement posted on Twitter. Guyger is charged with manslaughter in the Sept. 6 shooting that left 26-year-old Botham Jean dead, and she was fired because of her arrest, according to Dallas police.

Court records show Guyger said she thought she had encountered a burglar inside her own home. She turned herself in three days later, and is currently out on bond.

A statement from police said an internal investigation concluded that on Sept. 9, Guyger "engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter." Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell later said that when an officer has been arrested for a crime, "adverse conduct" is often cited in the officer's termination.

Mitchell said that adverse conduct is "conduct which adversely affects the (morale) or efficiency of the Department or which has a tendency to adversely affect, lower, destroy public respect and confidence in the Department or officer."

Attorneys for Jean's family, along with protesters, have been calling for Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force, to be fired since the shooting. The family's attorneys released a statement saying they see the termination as an initial victory.

"However, we are committed to seeing through the next steps of the process of a proper murder indictment, conviction and appropriate sentencing," the statement said.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has said the case will be presented to a grand jury, which could decide a more serious charge than manslaughter.

One of the family's attorneys, Lee Merritt, said Jean was being buried Monday in St. Lucia.

There are conflicting narratives over what led up to the shooting.

Guyger told investigators that she had just ended a shift when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex where she lived.

She said when she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, according to the affidavit. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer's account.

Guyger said she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the person, who ignored them. The affidavit said she then drew her weapon and fired twice.

She called 911. Asked where she was, she returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit. The 911 tapes have not been released.

But according to an affidavit for a search warrant Jean "confronted the officer at the door."

After the shooting, Guyger's blood was drawn to be tested for alcohol and drugs, according to Hall. Authorities have not released results.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he agrees with the decision to fire Guyger.

"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," Rawlings said in a statement.



 
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