From a contentious town hall-style meeting in Dallas to a march on the island of St. Lucia, activists turned out in full force to honor the memory of Botham Jean and to demand justice for him on Saturday, which would have been his 27th birthday.
Jean’s life was cut short on Sept. 6 when an off-duty Dallas cop shot and killed the St. Lucia native, claiming that she mistook his apartment for her own.
About 200 activists attended a forum at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Dallas for what was designed as a call to action, the Dallas Morning News reported.
The meeting began with Jean’s mother, Allison Jean, phoning in from St. Lucia pleasantly thanking supporters for attending the forum and reaffirming her unwavering commitment to obtain justice for her son.
But the activists soon became angry when the panelists, including Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson, began taking questions from the audience. It reached a boiling point when the activists demanded to know why Johnson failed to charge ex-officer Amber Guyger with murder instead of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
Meanwhile, on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, Jean’s family and scores of supporters held a thanksgiving birthday march in his memory, according to the St. Lucia Times. The Justice for Botham Support Group organized the event, which included songs of praise and speeches.
Back in Dallas, supporters joined their voices in singing the worship hymn “Let it Rise” at exactly 10 a.m. on Saturday. It was the last song Jean sang at his church.
On Friday, the Justice For Botham Jean movement rallied at a petition delivery protest outside Johnson’s Dallas office. They gathered 170,000 signatures to demand that the prosecutor upgrade manslaughter charges against Guyger. They fear that the district attorney will go lightly on her.