Botham Jean’s Family Criticizes Dallas Police Department Over ‘Character Assassination’ of 26-Year-Old Slain by Police in his Own Apartment

Botham Jean's mother and other members of his family hold a press conference.
Botham Jean’s mother and other members of his family hold a press conference.

The family of Botham Jean, the man killed by an off-duty Dallas police officer, is calling for the termination of the officer involved and is speaking out about what they call the “distasteful attempt to assassinate the character” of the 26-year-old.

During an afternoon news conference, the family’s attorney Lee Merritt spoke specifically about the Dallas police search warrant obtained after Jean’s murder.

“The warrant that was issued on the night that Botham Jean was killed… the warrant had a specific design in mind. It stated its purpose in the warrant,” Merritt said. “You all know that warrants can’t be broad, they have to be specific. So they [investigators] asked to go into his apartment complex and look for evidence of drug paraphernalia.”

The search warrant listed items found including — fired cartridge casings, a laptop, a black backpack with police equipment and paperwork, more than 10 grams of marijuana, a metal marijuana grinder, two radio frequency ID keys and two used packages of medical aid. While the affidavit detailed the items found inside Jean’s apartment, it did not indicate who owned which items.

Merritt claims that “investigators were interested specifically in finding information that could help assassinate his [Jean’s] character” instead of focusing on evidence that could be of value to the homicide investigation.

Merritt said the investigation took a discriminatory nature from the onset. “He [Botham Jean] lived 26 years on this earth without ever being accused of any crime and it took him being murdered by a Dallas police officer in order for him to become a criminal,” Merritt said. “And that’s truly tragic. And it’s truly a smear, not as it was designed against that young man, but a smear against the City of Dallas itself.”

Attorneys went on to, on behalf of the family, call for the immediate termination of Officer Amber Guyger. “She should not still be on the payroll for the city of Dallas,” Merritt said. “This is a young woman who in under four years on the force has been involved in two suspicious shootings. The City of Dallas needs to send out a message that there’s no place for a woman like that on the police force.”

Guyger is charged with manslaughter and out on a $300,000 bond, but Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson is taking the case to a grand jury.

According to the arrest affidavit Guyger, 30, told police it was nearly completely dark inside the apartment when she entered, believing the unit to be her own home, and and shot Jean believing he was a burglar.