The arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News of a white Dallas police officer who shot and killed a black neighbor in his own home — after confusing the floor she was on — shed new light on the case, which is headed to a grand jury that may deliver more serious charges than manslaughter.
David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit obtained by Fox News on Monday that Officer Amber Guyger allegedly shot Botham Jean after he ignored her “verbal commands.”
Guyger just had ended a 15-hour shift Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit filed for the officer’s arrest warrant, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.
When she put her key in the apartment door that was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened. Inside, the lights were off. Then she saw a figure in the darkness, the affidavit said.
The officer concluded that her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, who allegedly ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.
When she turned on the lights, she realized she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit, which appeared to be based almost entirely upon the officer’s account.
Mayor Mike Rawlings also said Monday that Guyger had parked on the wrong floor.
Guyger, 30, was arrested Sunday night and booked into jail in neighboring Kaufman County before being released on a $300,000 bond, as Fox News previously reported.
“The grand jury will be that entity that will make the final decision in terms of the charge or charges that will come out of this case,” Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson told reporters. “We prepare to present a thorough case to the grand jury of Dallas County, so that the right decision can be made in this case.”
The district attorney also will have the option of presenting more serious charges to the grand jury.
When asked why Guyger was allowed to surrender somewhere other than Dallas County’s jail, Johnson said the decision was made by the Texas Rangers, who also are investigating.
The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean, who grew up on the island of St. Lucia, died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide.
Jean’s mother said investigators had not given her family an account of what happened. Allison Jean told a news conference that she asked many questions, but was told there are no answers yet.
Lawyers for the victim’s family questioned why it took three days for Guyger to be charged and why she was so quick to use deadly force in her encounter with 26-year-old Jean.
Jean’s family hired attorney Benjamin Crump, who is best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Martin was the black 17-year-old who was shot fatally in 2012 by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was his Orlando-area neighborhood’s watch captain. Brown, who was 18, was shot to death in 2014 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
“Black people in America have been killed by police in some of the most unbelievable manners,” Crump said Monday at a news conference, citing “driving while black in our cars” and “walking while black in our neighborhoods.”
Now, he said, “we are being killed living while black when we are in our apartments.”
The family’s legal team also includes Lee Merritt, who has represented relatives of an unarmed black teenager who was shot in the back by a white police officer in June while fleeing a traffic stop near Pittsburgh.
Friends and family gathered Saturday at the Dallas West Church of Christ to remember Jean, who had worked for accounting firm PwC since graduating in 2016 from Harding University in Arkansas, where he often led campus religious services as a student.
Sgt. Mike Mata, president of Dallas’ largest police union, the Dallas Police Association, called Saturday for an “open, transparent and full investigation of the event,” the Dallas Morning News reported.
He described Jean as an “amazing individual” and said that “if the grand jury deems necessary, this officer should have to answer for her actions in a court of law in Dallas County.”
On the day after the shooting, Police Chief U. Renee Hall said her department was seeking manslaughter charges against Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force. But Hall said Saturday that the Texas Rangers asked her department to hold off because they had learned new information and wanted to investigate further before a warrant was issued.
Guyger’s blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, Hall said, but authorities have not released results.
Jean wasn’t the first person shot by Guyger. She shot a man named Uvaldo Perez on May 12, 2017, while on duty.
According to an affidavit filed against Perez, police were looking for a suspect when Guyger and another officer were called to assist a third officer. Perez got out of a car and became combative with Guyger and another officer. A struggle began, and Guyger fired her stun gun at Perez, who then wrested it away from her. She then drew her gun and fired, wounding Perez in the abdomen.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.