Law & the Courts

Dallas PD Fires Cop Who Killed Man after Entering Wrong Apartment

Amber Guyger in a booking photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, September 10, 2018. (Kaufman County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters)

The Dallas Police Department on Monday fired the officer who claims to have mistakenly entered Botham Jean’s apartment before fatally shooting him.

The officer, Amber Guyger, was charged last week with manslaughter in connection with the killing. In testimony provided to police following the shooting, Guyger claimed she arrived at her apartment building following her shift and found the door to Jean’s apartment open. Thinking it was her own apartment, she entered, and saw a “large silhouette” that she mistook for a home intruder. She then delivered a series of  “verbal commands that were ignored” before she opened fire, killing Jean.

Jean’s family has disputed Gugyer’s description of events, pointing out that Jean placed a red doormat outside of his apartment to distinguish it from others. Jean’s mother accused Guyger of intentionally entering the apartment with the intent to kill Jean in an interview with Buzzfeed News. 

Asked why Guyger had been placed on paid administrative leave and not immediately fired, Dallas police chief U. Renee Hall explained in a Thursday statement that firing her might interfere in the ongoing criminal investigation. It is unclear how that calculation has changed in the intervening days.

“There is one overriding reason that I have not taken any administrative or employment action against Officer Amber Guyger. I don’t want to interfere with the on-going criminal investigation into her actions,” Hall said. “Here’s why. As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation.”

Per police-union rules, Guyger is entitled to appeal the department’s decision to fire her, though it is not yet clear if she intends to do so.

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