Brandt Jean, the brother of Botham Jean, received an award Tuesday from a law enforcement organization for his “display of empathy and forgiveness” toward ex-cop Amber Guyger.
Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who killed Botham Jean, was sentenced to 10 years in prison in October after she was convicted of murder.
In an emotional and stunning moment in the courtroom, Brandt Jean asked State District Judge Tammy Kemp if he could hug Guyger. The two embraced and whispered to each other after Guyger was sentenced.
“If you truly are sorry, I know I can speak for myself, I forgive you. I know if you go to God and ask him, he will forgive you,” Brandt Jean told Guyger during victim impact statements following the sentencing.
The Institute of Law Enforcement Administration selected 18-year-old Brandt Jean to receive the 2019 Ethical Courage Award. The presentation took place at the organization’s Plano office.
Botham Jean, 26, was sitting in his apartment when Guyger walked in and shot him. She said she thought she was entering her own apartment and believed Jean was an intruder.
The September 2018 shooting sparked protests in Dallas and across the country, with many activists saying Jean’s death was another example of police brutality against people of color.
Botham Jean was black and Guyger is white.
After the conviction and sentencing, Brandt Jean’s act of forgiveness helped the community heal, said Gregory Smith, the director of the Institute of Law Enforcement Administration.
“Despite an unimaginable loss, he saw the humanity in the person responsible for his brother’s death,” Smith said in a written statement. “He saw her pain and regret, and had the ability to show empathy, caring and forgiveness.”
The Jean family attended the award ceremony Tuesday. The family has said they want to see changes in policing.
“There’s much more that needs to be done by the city of Dallas,” said Botham Jean’s mother Allison Jean after sentencing. “The corruption that we saw during this process must stop.”
Guyger, 31, has filed paperwork indicating she plans to appeal her murder conviction.