Texas police officer arrested on manslaughter charge in man’s death
DALLAS (AP) — A white Dallas police officer was arrested Sunday on a manslaughter charge in the off-duty shooting of a black neighbor whose apartment she says she mistook for her own.
Officer Amber Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail after being taken into custody, the Texas Department of Public Safety said in a news release. The department said the investigation is ongoing and that no additional information was available.
A jail employee said Guyger was released on bond. Online records initially showed Guyger was in custody, but she later was not listed on the jail inmate roster.
Guyger fatally shot 26-year-old Botham Jean on Thursday at Jean’s apartment. Lawyers for Jean’s family had been calling for Guyger’s arrest, saying the fact that she had remained free days after the shooting showed she was receiving favorable treatment. They held a news conference Sunday night, shortly before the arrest was announced, making another plea for the officer to be taken into custody and saying their team had presented new evidence — a witness and video footage — to prosecutors. They didn’t provide details.
The family attorneys weren’t immediately available for comment after the arrest came.
S. Lee Merritt, one of the attorneys for Jean’s family, said Saturday that the man’s loved ones weren’t calling on the authorities to jump to conclusions or to deny Guyger her right to due process. But Merritt said they wanted Guyger “to be treated like every other citizen, and where there is evidence that they’ve committed a crime, that there’s a warrant to be issued and an arrest to be made.”
Guyger, 30, is a four-year veteran of the police force. The Dallas Police Department released her name Saturday night.
Police Chief U. Renee Hall said the day after the shooting that her department was seeking manslaughter charges against Guyger. But she said Saturday that the Texas Rangers, who have taken over the investigation, asked her department to hold off because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before a warrant was issued.
Jean’s family has also hired attorney Benjamin Crump, who is best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Martin, a black, unarmed 17-year-old, was shot and killed by a neighborhood watch volunteer in 2012 in Sanford, Florida. Brown, a black, unarmed 18-year-old, was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
Crump has also represented the families of Stephon Clark and Terence Crutcher, both also black and unarmed. Clark, 22, was fatally shot earlier this year by officers in the backyard of his grandparents’ home in Sacramento, California. Crutcher, 40, was shot and killed by a white police officer in 2016 in Tulsa, Oklahoma.