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Off-duty Dallas police officer charged in shooting death of unarmed Botham Shem Jean

Facebook Live: Attorney Lee Merritt gives update in Botham Jean fatal shooting case

New evidence emerges in the death of Botham Jean who was shot by an off-duty Dallas Police Department officer on Sept. 6. Jean's family attorney Lee Merritt gives an update.
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New evidence emerges in the death of Botham Jean who was shot by an off-duty Dallas Police Department officer on Sept. 6. Jean's family attorney Lee Merritt gives an update.

A 30-year old off-duty Dallas police officer has been arrested and charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean on Thursday night.

Four-year Dallas police veteran Amber Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail at 7:20 p.m., according to jail records.

Guyger’s bond was set at $300,000 and she posted bail less than an hour after being arrested in Kaufman County, jail records stated.

Moments earlier on Sunday, Jean’s family attorney Lee Merritt met with Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson and said he had new evidence and demanded that Guyger be taken into custody.

“We want to know why that person is not in handcuffs yet,” Merritt said then.

Dozens of people gathered on Friday for a vigil in Dallas to honor and mourn the death of Botham Shem Jean, a African-American college graduate who was shot and killed by a white Dallas police officer who mistook his residence for hers.

While Johnson could not answer the question during their meeting, the new evidence brought forward included a witness and video footage of the aftermath of the shooting, according to Merritt.

With criminal defense attorney Benjamin Crump and Texas Sen. Royce West, who represents the 23rd district in Dallas County, by his side, Merritt gave an update to the media regarding the new evidence in the case.

After Merritt’s meeting with the district attorney, he said he decided against releasing the new evidence that he believed would lead to Guyger’s arrest because the district attorney had not seen it yet and he wanted to “protect the integrity of the investigation.”

But he said that he “brought forward a witness and video evidence, not of the shooting itself,” to the DA and that the narrative pushed by the Dallas Police Department is challenged by the evidence he presented.

Around 10 p.m. Thursday, Guyger went inside what she believed was her own apartment at the South Side Flats at 1210 S. Lamar St. after her shift ended, and encountered Jean, Dallas police said. She opened fire on him, but so far it is not clear what their interaction was prior to the shooting, according to the Dallas police.

On Friday, Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said that an arrest warrant for Guyger’s arrest was forthcoming and added that she would likely be charged with manslaughter.

The investigation into Jean’s death was turned over to the Texas Rangers, who later said they needed to conduct their own investigation before a warrant could be obtained.

The Texas Rangers decided to take a slower approach to conducting the investigation, according to Merritt.

During a press conference, Allison Jean told authorities she's not happy with the information that she's getting for the investigation and that her main question remains, "What happened?" to her son Botham Shem Jean who was killed Thursday night.

“Which is why they pulled back on the warrant,” he said. “We know she (Guyger) used her service weapon. ... When people saw her in the public, they believed she was a police officer. ... For us, it enhances the culpability .”

In the days since Jean’s death, rumors swirled on social media after a photo surfaced from Jean’s Instagram account showing him pictured, smiling, with three other women.

Many have stated that one of the women in the photo was Guyger, but that rumor was shot down after Jean’s former employer, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLC, told The Dallas Morning News that the women were colleagues of Jean’s.

Merritt added that there was no previous connection between Jean and Guyger prior to the shooting. It’s a rumor he has denied multiple times.

Jean, of St. Lucia, a Caribbean island, had previously attended Harding University in Arkansas before working for PriceWaterhouseCoopers, LLC in Dallas.

Star-telegram Reporter Nichole Manna contributed to this report.

A neighbor of Botham Jean's said they took this video in the immediate aftermath of a Dallas police officer fatally shooting the 26-year-old man on Thursday night. The officer says she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, Dallas police said.

Prescotte Stokes III: 817-390-7028, @PrescotteStokes
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