A federal district judge has ruled that the city of Dallas is not liable for an off-duty police officer convicted of murdering her neighbor after she mistakenly entered the wrong apartment. Although attorneys representing the victim’s family argued that the off-duty officer was still in uniform and using her police training when she fatally shot Botham Jean, the judge upheld a magistrate judge’s decision to dismiss the city from the wrongful death lawsuit.
On September 6, 2018, Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered the wrong apartment by mistake and found Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant at PricewaterhouseCoopers, eating a bowl of ice cream. Believing Jean was an intruder, Guyger shot him to death before realizing she was not in her apartment.
Arrested for manslaughter, Guyger was later charged with murder and fired from the Dallas Police Department. In October 2018, Jean’s family filed a federal lawsuit against Guyger and the city of Dallas for the wrongful death of Botham Jean.
“By simply following proper police procedures and the best police practices and not the protocol of the DPD to ‘shoot first and ask questions later,’ Defendant Guyger would have not shot Jean,” the lawsuit read. “Essentially, Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective DPD policy: to use deadly force even when there exist no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others.”
On October 1, 2019, Guyger was found guilty of Jean’s murder. She was sentenced to 10 years in prison and will reportedly be eligible for parole in 2024.
On December 23, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dismissed the city of Dallas from the wrongful death lawsuit, leaving Guyger as the sole defendant in the suit.
“I have no hatred toward Amber Guyger,” Botham’s mother, Allison Jean, told The Dallas Morning News. “It’s time to focus on me and heal in the best way I know how.”