If you are not from Texas or my hometown of Dallas, you probably don’t know who Amber Guyger is. You probably don’t know why her story has turned the city inside out or why the outcomes of her actions became a dark cloud over the city of Dallas that will not be erased anytime soon.
Amber Guyger was a Dallas Police Officer that shot Botham Jean in his home on September 6, 2018. Jean died on the way to the hospital despite efforts made to save his life. During the course of the investigation, Amber revealed that she shot Botham Jean because she believed she walked into her own home after completing a long shift at work. Botham Jean approached Amber when he heard her enter his apartment, possibly not realizing he left the door open. Amber saw Jean as a intruder and threat so she pulled out her gun … You know the story from there.
Amber has since left the police force and has completed trail. Amber was convicted of murder and will serve 10 years in prison. Though, her lawyer has made a motion to appeal so she may not serve the full 10 years if the appeal is successful. However, the most shocking moment was after the verdict was delivered. The brother of Jean and the judge of the trail hugged Amber. The brother forgave Amber. The judge compelled Amber to search for solace since this has all happened.
However, it is the city’s reaction and my own that fascinates me in this aftermath. No one really knows how to feel about the conviction. Amber was defending herself. Jean was investigating a sound. Jean’s family claims he would have wanted forgiveness. Amber did attempted to save his life after she realized her mistake. I think all around this is a no-win situation, where there is no defined villain or hero. But it does leave several questions left for the city to try to answer in it’s wake.
The first being the training officers go through. Police are taught to incapacitate a criminal as quickly and efficiently as possible which often means the use of guns and center mass body shots. Center mass body shots often nick or destroy important organs and arteries. These injuries often lead to death or life-threatening wounds. If she used a taser instead of a gun, would Jean still be with us today?
The second being the amount of hours of work officers put in. Amber had just gotten off a 12 hour shift which would have likely caused slower brain processing power. Especially if those 12 hours are spent at a highly stressful job. If she had enough sleep and was able to think clearly would she have recognized her surroundings as being the wrong apartment?
The third being will the city trust the police force after this incident? Unfortunately during the trail of Amber Guyger, previous social media posts made by Guyger with some racist wording was made public. These posts were not condoned by the police force but the damage was done. It made people question if Guyger’s actions were innocent defense or if her biases led her to take such dramatic action. It also made the people question if more police force members allowed their biases to possibly interfere with their work.
I think these three questions are the questions that the city is going to have to find answers to soon if they hope to never have another shooting like Jean’s. The questions need answers also to allow the city to heal after the circus and chaos of this trail has caused in each of it’s city members. So this is the aftermath of the Amber Guyger trail …. and it is far from over.