Deaths by the hands of law enforcement are common place in our society. Disproportionately, black and brown people are the victims of these heinous crimes. Scrolling through social media and daily news cycle provide a harsh yet consistent reminder of what lurks on the streets that outline neighborhoods all across the United States. One would never think that danger would be literally outside their front door.
The murder of Botham Shem Jean by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger struck me in a way no other police related murder of a black man has before. At the time and even now, I can’t seem to understand why his murder resonated with me so. It could have been a number of reasons: our apartments are less 10 miles from one another, my job is less than 2 miles from where he was gunned down, at his age I too was heavily involved in ministry and venturing into corporate America. There are several other similarities but Botham’s story reminded me that it could have been me. Botham could have been one of my nephews or cousins. His death was devastating to me and I’m affected by it to this day.
I’m intentionally using the word murder in Botham’s case because that is exactly what happened in this situation. Amber Guyger has changed her story several times since the shooting occurred but one thing remains the same. She entered into an apartment that didn’t belong to her, shot and killed an innocent man that posed no threat to her. The manner by which this case can been investigated by the Dallas Police, Texas Rangers and the Dallas County District Attorney’s office has many people outraged and questioning the motives of all parties. The charge of manslaughter and not murder has not gone over well either which many people are pressing district attorney Faith Johnson to upgrade the charge due the circumstances surrounding the case. Another pain point is the fact that Amber Guyger is still employed by the Dallas Police Department. She’s currently on paid administrative leave while this young man’s mother prepares to bury him.
We’ll have to wait and see how things pan out in this case. It’s my prayer that justice for this young brother prevails. If it doesn’t, I shudder to think of what will happen in the city of Dallas and surrounding areas in the aftermath. The funeral for Botham Jean is scheduled for Thursday, September 13th.