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Dallas police officer who killed neighbor is fired

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Dallas police officer who killed neighbor is fired


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Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who allegedly shot and killed a man in his own apartment is fired, according to the Dallas Police Department.
USA TODAY

The white Dallas police officer accused of shooting her black neighbor to death after entering into his apartment has been fired from the force.

Officer Amber Guyger, who has said she mistook the neighbor’s apartment for her own and thought 26-year-old Botham Jean was a burglar, was terminated during a hearing Monday with Police Chief U. Renee Hall, the Dallas Police Department said in a news release posted on Twitter.

An internal investigation revealed Guyger “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for manslaughter’’ three days after the Sept. 6 shooting of Jean, who lived in the fourth-floor apartment right above her, the statement said.

The posting did not specify the nature of the “adverse conduct,” but Dallas police spokesman Sgt. Warren Mitchell later described it in a written response as “conduct which adversely affects the morale or efficiency of the Department or which has a tendency to adversely affect, lower, destroy public respect and confidence in the Department or officer.”

When an officer has been arrested for a crime, adverse conduct is often cited in the officer’s termination, Mitchell said.

Guyger, who was hired in November 2013, has been out on bond and remained on administrative leave while facing manslaughter charges. Her continued employment has been a sore point for Jean’s relatives and protesters, who have argued she should be fired and charged with murder.

Hall said last week she couldn’t fire Guyger for fear of interfering with a criminal investigation into the shooting.

Lee Merritt, a lawyer hired by the family, said in a statement Jean’s relatives were satisfied with the explanation and with Guyger’s firing.

“We see it as an initial victory — well received on the day Botham Jean is laid to rest in his native country in St. Lucia,” the statement said, adding that Jean’s family and lawyers are committed to getting a “proper murder indictment, conviction and appropriate sentencing.”

More: Dallas officer Amber Guyger charged with manslaughter after killing neighbor in his apartment

According to court documents, Guyger, 30, was still in uniform after her shift when she returned on Sept. 6 to the South Side Flats apartment where she lived. She told investigators she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, and it opened. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room.

Guyger drew her firearm, the affidavit said, “gave verbal commands that were ignored by (Jean), and then she fired two shots.”

One of them fatally hit Jean in the torso.

When Guyger called 911 and was asked where she was, she returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit.

Merritt and Jean’s relatives have questioned Guyger’s version of the events, although they haven’t ascertained a motive.

An affidavit for a search warrant states that Guyger and Jean encountered each other at the door to his apartment, instead of having an exchange across the room.

After the shooting, Guyger’s blood was drawn to be tested for alcohol and drugs, according to Hall. Authorities have not released results.

Jean, a graduate of Harding University in Arkansas, worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers in Dallas and was known for his volunteerism and love of singing.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said the case would be taken to a grand jury, and that a more serious charge of murder was possible.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement Monday the firing of Guyger was “the right decision in the interest of justice for Botham Jean and the citizens of Dallas.’’

Contributing: The Associated Press, John Bacon, USA TODAY

 

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