Attorney: Search warrant of Botham Jean’s apartment was an attempt to smear victim

The search warrant for the apartment of Botham Shem Jean was made public Thursday, the same day friends and family gathered to celebrate his life.

Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family, said the search warrant and the release of its findings was done by the Dallas Police Department for “no other purpose than to smear the good name of the black man its officer killed for no apparent reason.”

Jean, 26, was killed in his own apartment by an off-duty, uniformed Dallas police officer who has said she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own on the night of Sept. 6. The search warrant was executed the day after the shooting.

The search warrant for Jean’s apartment and the arrest warrant for Guyger differs in what happened that night. One says Jean was across the room, the other says Jean confronted Guyger at the door. One says the door was slightly ajar while the other says Guyger had trouble getting her key to work.

On Friday, Merritt called for Guyger to be fired immediately. She is still on administrative leave.

“We’re here eight days after his murder. Specifically, we are calling, we are demanding that Officer Amber Guyger be fired, terminated, immediately,” Merritt said on Friday. “She should not still be on the payroll ... There’s no place for her ... This is non-negotiable.”

According to Star-Telegram media partner WFAA-TV, police seized the following item’s from Jean’s apartment:

  • Two bullet casings

  • A police backpack and vest

  • 10.4 grams of marijuana and metal grinder

  • A lunch box and laptop computer

  • Two used packages of medical aid

  • Two radio frequency identification keys — the type of keys used to enter units at the South Side Flats, where Jean and Guyger lived.

“Twenty-six years without blemish and it took being murdered by a white Dallas Police officer in his own home to make Botham Shem Jean a criminal,” Merritt said on Twitter.

Jean never had a personal encounter with the criminal justice system, Merritt said.

“In fact, Botham took painstaking measures to avoid law enforcement encounters, keenly aware of the brutal and discriminatory propensities of American police,” the attorney wrote.

Merritt and other activists have been outspoken about their disappointment in Dallas police taking three days to arrest Guyger on a charge of manslaughter. She was released Sunday night, about an hour after she turned herself in, on a $300,000 bond.

“They went in with the intent to find some sort of criminal justification for the victim,” Merritt told WFAA-TV soon after the warrant was made public.

“It’s a pattern we’ve seen before. It’s a pattern of we have a victim, we have a cop who clearly did something wrong and instead of investigating the homicide, instead of going into her apartment and seeing what they can find, instead of collecting evidence relevant for the homicide investigation, they went out specifically looking for ways to tarnish the image of this young man.”

Jean is a native of the Caribbean island Saint Lucia. He gradated from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and moved to Dallas to work for PriceWaterhouseCooper, “where he advanced quickly on the partnership track,” Merritt said.

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