The night of September 6th, I looked outside my window and saw an alarming amount of police cars parked outside a nearby apartment complex. I immediately texted my friend who lived in that building to make sure she was okay. Rumors of shots fired were spreading through the neighborhood.
It wasn’t until the next morning that we read the strange, strange story of a then-unnamed police woman who went into the wrong apartment unit and killed the 26-year-old young man living there. Later that afternoon, we learned his identity. Botham Shem Jean.
By that evening, as a vigil for Botham was held outside of Dallas Police Department headquarters, the shooter’s name had still not been released to the public. There was no warrant for her arrest, and she was not in custody.
Three days after his death, the city was forced to release her name officially (after it was leaked online). Amber Guyger. Photos from her social media accounts surfaced (or what was left after what I’m sure was a thorough scraping) which showed her with a woman (her mother, presumably) in an “All Lives Matter” shirt and a man flashing the White Power hand signal.
I watched a press conference around 7pm where Botham’s family’s attorneys called for Amber’s arrest. No sooner had news outlets started reporting her being charged with manslaughter than we found out she was released on bail bond (through the back, for privacy’s sake).
I did not know Botham personally, though we lived less than a block from each other. I don’t know much about Amber, but recognize in the few photos some dangerously biased views that her friends/family seem proud to exhibit. I have no personal connection to the case, and yet share a curiosity many of us are struggling with as so many questions remain unanswered.
What I do know is that Amber fortuitously avoided spending tonight in jail and is being given a benefit of the doubt she lethally deprived of Botham. I don’t know exactly what justice is in a case as bizarre as this. But this sure as hell doesn’t feel like it.
Learn more about how you can support Botham’s family and help his legacy live on by visiting the Botham Jean Foundation website.
And say. his. name.