At least nine people who were arrested by a Dallas police officer who was eventually accused of murdering a man in his own home have had their cases dismissed, according to a new report. The development could be damning for Amber Guyger, the now-former cop who was indicted for breaking into the home of Botham Shem Jean before shooting him to death.
All of the dismissed cases originated before Guyger killed Botham Jean, a 26-year-old native of St. Lucia who was simply home watching TV when the off-duty officer illegally entered and killed him under the implausible excuse that she thought he was burglarizing her own apartment. Citing court documents, the Dallas News reported that “Dallas County prosecutors in one case wrote that they were seeking the dismissal because the fired officer was ‘indicted for murdering an innocent man in his own home.’”
If prosecutors were going so far as to dismiss cases that Guyger brought in, that could indicate how strongly they feel their case against the former cop is. The implication was that prosecutors were so confident they can secure Guyger’s conviction that they were already getting ahead of any potential wrongful arrest lawsuits that could be initiated once the former cop is found guilty.
Guyger’s defense attorneys, on the other hand, may not be nearly as confident as their prosecutorial counterparts of their latest move was any indication. Her murder trial was initially slated to begin in August before it was pushed back until late September, more than a year after Guyger killed Jean.
There were also reports that Guyger, who has been out on bail since her indictment in December, may have violated the terms of her conditional release by living her best life and vacationing on a Caribbean cruise, which was subpoenaed for its records last month. In addition to possibly showing Guyger violated her bail, the subpoena could allow prosecutors to portray her as a carefree vacationer following what appeared to be a cold-blooded murder of an innocent man.
There is also the testimony from an eyewitness who recorded video just moments after the shooting, showing Guyger talking on her phone and the paramedics removing Jean’s body. Guyger’s lawyers were scrambling to keep her from the witness stand.
Guyger, herself, has also taken painstaking measures to show her purported innocence, including getting a complete makeover in an apparent play for sympathy from the judge during a court appearance in January.
Still, the apparent evidence is seemingly overwhelmingly not in Guyger’s favor.
On Sept. 6, Guyger said that following a long day on the job as a Dallas police officer, she implausibly mistook his apartment for her own and, after ordering Jean not to move, shot him twice before realizing the error of her ways. Her story was met with doubt because of a number of factors, especially her assertion that Jean’s door was ajar. Videos posted on social media by neighbors appeared to show that apartment doors in the building shut automatically, which seemed to indicate that Guyger was lying.
In addition to the inconsistencies in her alibis, which have changed several times, Dallas police, of which Guyger was a member for five years before being fired, appeared to be helping to cover up the shooting for their colleague. The department was accused of allowing Guyger enough time to scrub her social media accounts and get her story straight before turning herself in three days after killing Jean. It also gave Guyger enough time to move out of her apartment, which was never searched by police despite five warrants allowing them to do so.
Murder charges against a police officer are notoriously hard to prosecute. There are roughly 1,000 police shootings every year in the United States, but officers seldom face justice. According to CNN, only 80 cops were arrested on murder or manslaughter charges for on-duty shootings between 2005 and April 2017. However, only 35 percent of those arrests led to convictions in that 12-year period.