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Lawsuit filed by family of man killed by Dallas cop

By Jihad Hassan Muhammad -Contributing Writer- | Last updated: Nov 10, 2018 - 9:30:27 AM

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Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, left, charged in fatal shooting of unarmed neighbor Botham Shem Jean.

DALLAS—A lawsuit stating “Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective Dallas Police Department policy: to use deadly force even when there exists no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others,” was filed Oct. 26 by the family of Botham Shem Jean. Mr. Jean was the unarmed Black man killed in his apartment on Sept. 6 by Amber Guyger, a White woman, and former Dallas police officer.

In a recent trip to Dallas from St. Lucia, of which Botham was a native as well, Allison Jean, Botham’s mother expressed to The Final Call her grief and how outlandish it was for her son to be killed by the police while in the comfort of his own home.

“He was in his apartment waiting for a football game he said he was looking forward to watching, and in comes there someone walks in and shoots and kills him. So then as much as we say to our kids that they need to be respectful to the police they need to be on guard,” said Allison Jean. Her son was only 26 years old. His death sparked anger and protests in the city.

Ms. Guyger’s use of excessive force in the killing of Botham is argued in the lawsuit. According to court records, Guyger reported she mistook his apartment for her own and thought she’d encountered an intruder.

Botham Shem Jean’s parents Allison and Bertrum are listed as plaintiffs in the suit, while the city of Dallas along with Amber Guyger are named on the lawsuit as defendants. Bertrum Jean had this to say to The Final Call, while in Dallas. “We must continue to fight for justice because we know it can happen to any other family. We are all in this together, so we must fight for justice,” demanded Mr. Jean.

The lawsuit holds the Dallas Police Department responsible for not properly training Ms. Guyger, citing that her actions were done in accord with her knowledge of police protocol.

Police killing unarmed Black people has become a norm in America, a norm that Jean family attorney Lee Merritt says more and more families are becoming all too familiar with.

“Our culture for tolerance of police brutality has gotten out of control. It’s interesting looking at Botham’s case, we see the people of St. Lucia who are just not used to this kind of police brutality and they are livid because they are so shocked that a member of law enforcement could take a member of their community,” Atty. Merritt told The Final Call.

Atty. Merritt also references 2018 as the bloodiest year in recent times for police killings of unarmed Black people.

Ms. Guyger was initially arrested and charged with manslaughter. The family and their attorneys are confident that the grand jury will bring back a charge of murder once all the evidence is shown.

The charge of manslaughter was brought about by District Attorney Faith Johnson, who worked in concert with Dallas police and the Texas Rangers who handled the investigations.

The family and the community have argued the charge should have been murder from the beginning. Judge John Creuzot, a Democrat running against Ms. Johnson for District Attorney, said, “We must be honest. To tell the family and the community that this is a manslaughter case when it is clearly a murder case is dishonest. “In my 36 years of practicing law, inclusive of 22 years as one of the highest rated criminal justices in this city, I have never seen facts like what we see in this case equal a manslaughter charge,” he added. The City of Dallas has not commented on the lawsuit against them at this time.