Amber Guyger
Photo: Associated Press

Amber Guyger, the now former Dallas cop who killed an unarmed black man in his own home, is still awaiting trial in the case. But since her arrest and indictment, prosecutors have been dismissing charges against folks she hemmed up on drug and other crimes.

It’s the latest development in the case surrounding the death of Botham Jean, who was shot and killed by Guyger in September. Guyger, who was off-duty but in uniform at the time, told investigators she thought she was entering her own apartment when she entered Jean’s and shot Jean dead, thinking he was a burglar.

 The Dallas Police Department fired her weeks after the shooting, and a grand jury in November indicted Guyger on charges of murder.

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And since the fatal shooting, prosecutors have dismissed at least nine drug cases that Guyger investigated while she was still an officer.

As the Dallas Morning News explains:

Dallas County prosecutors in one case wrote that they were asking a judge for a dismissal because the fired officer had been “indicted for murdering an innocent man in his own home,” court records show.

... Four of the dismissed cases stemmed from the arrest of two men during a January 2018 traffic stop by Guyger and another officer. Three of those involved drug charges. The fourth, involving an allegation of unlawfully carrying a weapon, was also dismissed, and the gun was returned. But prosecutors’ motion to dismiss that case was not found in the court file.

Since Jean’s shooting, judges have dismissed at least five more cases at prosecutors’ request in which Guyger was the arresting officer, court records show. But prosecutors did not refer to Guyger in their motions to dismiss the cases. Most of those were also drug cases.

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Prosecutors wouldn’t go into detail about why they dismissed the cases, and indicated there was no telling how many cases could be impacted by the charges facing Guyger.

However, the prosecutors’ decision highlights how police abuse can impact more than just those directly involved.

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As defense attorney Chris Knox told the Morning News, when a cop is charged with a crime, “it places prosecutors in the precarious position when deciding whether to sponsor the officer’s testimony at an unrelated trial.”

John Fullinwider, co-founder of Mothers Against Police Brutality, was more pointed:

“These cases illustrate how police brutality impacts legitimate policing,” he said. “Officers like Guyger, who abuse their authority, in her case fatally, undercut the efforts of officers who are actually doing their jobs in a way that respects our constitutional rights.”