The family of the Black man who was killed by a police officer in his own Dallas apartment last month still has plans to sue the city, according to a new report. Botham Jean’s family announced their intentions earlier this month to sue Dallas for civil rights violations, but the lawsuit was seemingly in limbo last week after Jean’s mother said some questions she had were being answered by officials.
Lawyers representing the family revealed details of the pending lawsuit on Monday, showing exactly what Jean’s parents were hoping to accomplish with it.
“Jean’s parents say they want their lawsuit to not just focus on how their son died, but to change how police officers are trained about when to fire their weapons,” the Dallas Morning News reported Monday afternoon.
Part of the lawsuit will also focus on what Jean’s family has described as incompetence on the part of law enforcement, including Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, who reportedly assured the family that the case was progressing. Johnson, who was appointed DA nearly two years ago, was running to be elected to the post next month and has at times seemed more concerned with her campaign than Jean’s killing.
“The Jeans also fault [Dallas Police Chief U. Reneé] Hall for turning over the case to the Rangers and say Dallas police should have kept investigating,” Dallas Morning News also reported. “Hall has said she turned over the case in an effort to be more transparent.”
However, Hall, at one point in the weeks after the shooting, told reporters that she was “prohibited” from firing Amber Guyger, the officer who killed Jean. Less than a week later, Guyger was fired.
There’s also the issue of the criminal charge Guyger was facing. She was charged with manslaughter, but that could be changed to murder depending on what a grand jury decides. However, it was unclear when, or if, a grand jury would ever convene.
It’s been nearly seven weeks since Guyger entered Jean’s apartment and killed him on Sept. 6, implausibly confusing her rental unit for his and purportedly suspecting he was an intruder in her home.
Local law enforcement has been accused of helping Guyger coverup her crime, allowing her to avoid criminal charges and remain free nearly three days following the shooting before she turned herself in and was arrested. She was finally fired nearly three weeks after she killed Jean. Her toxicology report has also not been released even though she reportedly submitted to a test the night of the shooting.
Jean family attorney Lee Merritt told journalist Jordan Chariton last week that Guyger was also given time to delete all of her social media accounts, except for her Pinterest account which “bragged about being violent, being short tempered. She bragged about use of force and she spoke out adamantly against things like kneeling [during the anthem] and said the NFL died of ‘Colin’ [Kaeprnick] cancer.”
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