Amber Guyger: It Really Wasn't Murder

The former Dallas police officer appeals her sentence
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 8, 2020 4:00 PM CDT
Amber Guyger: 10 Years Is Too Much
In this Sept. 25, 2019, file photo, fired Dallas police officer Amber Guyger looks toward her attorney before proceedings in her murder trial in Dallas.   (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool, File)

The former Dallas cop who killed an unarmed Black man in his own home—a deadly mistake—has formally appealed her sentence, per CNN. Amber Guyger's lawyers are calling her murder conviction unfair because she considered Botham Jean, 26, a threat at the time. A lighter sentence for criminally negligent homicide would be more appropriate, they say: "Her mistaken belief negated the culpability for murder because although she intentionally and knowingly caused Jean's death, she had the right to act in deadly force in self-defense." Guyger entered Jean's apartment in 2018 thinking it was her own, the court heard, and considered him an intruder. Jean was sitting on his sofa eating ice cream and watching TV at the time.

Jean's family didn't exactly jump at Guyger's appeal. "After admitting her crime and asking Botham Jean's family for mercy—Guyger's actions in filing this appeal reflect someone who is not repentant but instead was hoping to play on the family's sympathies at the time that they were most vulnerable," they say. Jean's younger brother famously forgave Guyger and hugged her on the last day of the trial, but Jean's sister, Allisa Findley, sees value in punishment: "She should have received life, so she should take her 10 years in prison and shut up," she tells the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "If the court was to do this it would prove that, yes, there is systemic racism and white privilege does prevail over Black life." (Guyger said she hates herself "every single day.")

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