A jury convicted Amber Guyger of Murder earlier this week after the former police officer mistakenly entered the wrong apartment and shot Botham Jean, the unarmed black man who lived there. She indicated that she thought that he was a burglar in her own unit. Truly tragic, but is this justice run amuck or even an outsized case of general retaliation and political correctness?
Unjust All The Way Around
Ok, I get it, this should not have happened and resulted in the tragic and unjust death of a good man. Still, it is hard to believe that this apparent mistake would result in a Murder conviction.
Is there something that we don’t know? Did Ms. Guyger know the man and have something against him? Did she just decide one evening to go upstairs to an apartment in her building and kill someone?
Factors Leading To Retaliatory Conviction
Mistake notwithstanding, it appears that prosecutors pinned much of their case on 4 factors:
1. They found racist sounding messages on her phone.
2. She apparently did not see or notice a red mat outside Jean’s door.
3. She did not follow police protocol, which apparently called for her to take cover and seek back-up on the scene of a break-in.
4. Although she immediately summoned medical help, she did not administer CPR for very long, stepped outside to call in the paramedics, did not use her 1st aid kit, and called her partner with whom she was having a romantic relationship.
Reasonable Doubt – Ignored In Favor or Retaliation
While all of the above may very well be true, there is no apparent evidence suggesting that Guyger did this on purpose. It sure looks more like a terrible mistake.
Perhaps the jury might have even guessed that she could have done it on purpose, however there seems to be no compelling evidence to this effect. Moreover it seems like there would have been plenty of reasonable doubt to convict on a lesser charge. Perhaps Manslaughter???
Retaliation or Justice
In the end one has to wonder if, in this particular case, the conviction has more to do with political correctness and a desire to generally retaliate against perceived past police transgressions related to people of color than fairness. (See attached WSJ article describing the scene and courtroom reactions).
Retaliation is not a substitute for justice.
In an inspiring act of true compassion, Brandt Jean, the victim’s younger brother, hugged Guyger after she was sentenced to 10 years in prison, saying that he would forgive her and wished her no ill.
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