Dallas Cop Who Got Fired After Killing a Black Man Minding His Own Business in His Own Home Cries Self-Defense as Murder Trial Begins

Amber Guyger
Photo: Kaufman County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office (via AP)

The Dallas cop who got fired after she shot and killed a black man in his own home, saying she mistook his apartment door for her own, is claiming self-defense as her murder trial gets underway.

Amber Guyger had been on the Dallas police force for about five years when she fatally fired on 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean last year after entering his apartment at the residential complex where they both lived.

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As her trial on murder charges got underway Monday, Guyger’s attorneys blamed everything but the fact that their client, a trained police officer at the time of the shooting, fired the fatal shots, ABC News reports.

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They told jurors Jean’s death was a tragic accident brought on by their client’s “exhaustion” after working a long shift. They said Guyger lived in a “high-crime” area, which made her hyper vigilant. They blamed Jean for, as ABC described, “drowning out her orders for him to show his hands” after she wrongly entered his apartment.

The defense even blamed the “confusing” layout of the complex where she and Jean both had apartments.

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Defense attorney Robert Rogers, per ABC:

asked the jury to side with Guyger’s claim of self-defense, saying prosecutors are “holding Amber Guyger to an impossible standard” and “making innocent mistakes into evil acts.”

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But prosecutors charged that Guyger’s story of a tragic accident didn’t add up, according to ABC News. In their opening statements, prosecutors said Guyger made a series of wrong moves that ended in the death of an innocent man.

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Prosecutors said that not only was Guyger on the wrong floor of her building, but that Jean had a red welcome mat that should have clearly tipped off Guyger that his apartment wasn’t hers.

Prosecutors said that rather than being overly fatigued after coming home from a long shift on the job, as Guyger claims, she was perhaps distracted by the sexual text messages she was engaged in with a lover on the force shortly before she encountered Jean.

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In addition, prosecutors said if Guyger had viewed Jean as a suspected burglar, as she claims, as a police officer, she failed to follow proper procedures upon coming upon a suspect. Instead of shooting first and asking questions later, Guyger should have retreated and called for backup.

“In the last 10 minutes of Bo’s life, Amber Guyger made a series of unreasonable errors, and unreasonable decisions, and unreasonable choices—the kind of choices and decisions that only she could have stopped,” Dallas County Assistant District Attorney Jason Hermus told jurors, according to ABC News:

Hermus said the evidence would show that Guyger’s intrusion scared Jean, prompting him to get up off his couch and confront the stranger. But before he could take a few steps toward the door, Guyger was “leveling her gun having acquired her target” and firing twice, hitting Jean in the chest. He said the bullet ripped through Jean’s heart, lung and intestine before lodging in his lower back.

“No opportunity for de-escalation, no opportunity for him to surrender. Bang, bang. Rapid,” Hermus told the jury.

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