Just last week, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall was insisting she could not fire Amber Guyger, the 30-year-old officer who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own home on September 6. She said at a press conference that she was “prohibited” from firing her and, in a statement, said, “As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. That is not a risk I am willing to take.”
Now, Guyger has been fired. So what changed over the past few days?
Hall, who has only been the chief for a year, was slammed on social media and even legal experts questioned her. Attorney Peter Schulte told ABC 8, “When I read Chief Hall’s statement today, it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I don’t know if it’s ignorance or being naive, but it doesn’t make any sense legally.”
ABC 8 explained, “Statements given to internal affairs cannot be used in the criminal investigation. Officers are given what’s called a Garrity warning. That means anything they say is only used for the purpose of disciplining an officer or firing them. The Texas Rangers are conducting a separate investigation from the Dallas Police Department and have already taken Guyger’s statement. DPD can fire Guyger for being arrested and charged with manslaughter even without Guyger giving a statement to the department.”
Hall has yet to cite any law or code on why she wasn’t able to fire Guyger.
This is another example of how poorly the Dallas police appeared to handle the shooting. It took 72 hours for Guyger to be charged, her apartment was never searched—even after five search warrants—and she wasn’t fired until 18 days after she killed Jean in his home.
We hope the family of Botham Jean gets justice.