You are in your home, just relaxing after a long day when all of a sudden a police officer barges into your home yelling to put your hands up. You do not listen because you are in your own house and the police officer proceeds to shoot and kill you in your own home. When the alarming story of the death of Botham Sjem Jean was released to the nation, many were shaken and disturbed to the core. Sadly though this was a reality for twenty six year old Botham Shem Jean, a black man shot to death one fateful night when a police officer mistook his apartment for her own.
Jean was in his house relaxing after a long day on Thursday September 6 when a police officer entered what she believed to be her own apartment. She then fatally shot Jean after believing him to be an intruder. Only when Amber Guyger turned on the lights to call 911 did she realize this was not her apartment, Guyger turned out to be the intruder. This is not the first time that Guyger has shot someone, in 2017 she shot a man who supposedly took her taser in a struggle.
Three days after Guyger killed Jean she was arrested for manslaughter . Why did it take the police force three days to convict her? Guyger was present when the police arrived at the apartment, often a person charged with her crime would be arrested right away. What made Guyger different from the other people?Benjamin Crump, the family’s attorney said, “You or I would be arrested if we went to the wrong apartment and blew a hole in a person’s chest, killing them.” People are drawing their own conclusions to the question;ome believe it was because she was a police officer, others seem to think it is because of race. The police department did not give a reason for this unusual circumstance.
Guyger not being arrested on spot is not the only out of ordinary thing happening that makes people believe Guyger is getting special treatment. Guyger was allowed to move out of her own apartment before police could execute any of the five warrants the court issued to search her home. In all other cases this is unheard of. Another thing that makes people question it is the attorney has asked the Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to allow them to withhold the 911 recording. While the police do not have to release 911 recordings what is unusual about this is that they have asked for it not to be released. Is there something on the recording that the police force does not want to be shared? Does it tie in with Guyger being able to move out of her apartment?
Jean’s family wants to change Guygers charge of manslaughter to a charge of murder and his family also plans to sue the city of Dallas. Jean was brought back home to St. Lucia where a funeral was held for him as well as a vigil in Dallas. A week before Jean was killed his mother visited him and Jean had explained to his mother that the relationship between black people and police officers is very different compared to back home (St. Lucia). Jean was very aware that this country could be a dangerous place depending on appearance. His mother asked him, “Why do you have to be so dressy?” to which Jean replied with, “Mom, I don’t want to be stopped. I don’t want for them to think I’m somebody I’m not.”
Jean made sure that everyday he would dress well because he knows that if he did not people would judge him and it could be more dangerous for him. He took all these precautions and he still ended up dead because a “confused” police officer thought she was in her apartment and that there was an “intruder”. It is becoming more common everyday for us to hear stories like this. Are we really a country that will stand for these injustices?
by Amber Slaughter
photo by Mic.com