Dallas Police investigating the killing of 28-year-old Joshua Brown are denying his death has anything to do with his involvement in the trial of former police officer Amber Guyger.
Brown, a witness in the high-profile trial, was gunned down outside his apartment building last Friday, just two days after Guyger received her 10-year sentence for murdering Botham Jean in his apartment last year.
In a news conference Tuesday, police alleged Brown died because of a botched drug deal between himself and three men from Louisiana.
“As you know there’s been speculation and rumors that have been shared by community leaders claiming that Mr. Brown’s death was related to the Amber Guyger trial and somehow the Dallas Police Department was responsible. I assure [you] that is simply not true,” Assistant Chief Avery Moore told reporters, according to ABC News.
Police have issued warrants for Thaddeous Charles Green, 22, Michael Diaz Mitchell, 32, and Jacquerious Mitchell, 20. The latter is being treated in a Dallas hospital for gunshot wounds allegedly sustained in a confrontation between Brown and the three men on Friday night. Michael Mitchell and Green are still at large, Moore says.
This is what Dallas Police say happened on Oct. 4: Green and the Mitchells drove 4.5 hours from Alexandria, Louisiana to Dallas to purchase drugs from Brown (that drive, it should be noted, takes roughly 4.5 hours). They met outside of Brown’s apartment, where the drug deal went south.
When the suspects arrived in the parking lot, Green got out of the vehicle to talk to Brown. The conversation escalated into a physical altercation, at which point, Jacquerious Mitchell got out of the vehicle, Moore said. He told police that’s when Brown shot him in the chest.
Green allegedly returned fire, hitting Brown in the lower body and killing him. He and Michael Mitchell then dropped off Jacquerious at a hospital before driving off.
Moore also said police confiscated 12 pounds of marijuana from Brown’s apartment, along with 149 grams of THC cartridges and $4,157 in cash, according to NBC News.
Many were incredulous about the Dallas Police’s version of events, pointing out in social media posts that their explanation sounded eerily like the “sprinkle some crack on him” bit from Dave Chappelle’s 2000 Killin’ Them Softly stand-up special. Others flagged the long drive (a 9-hour round trip for weed products), Brown’s lack of criminal history, and his recent participation in the Guyger trial as other reasons the story just didn’t add up.
But Dallas Police maintained that Brown’s death had nothing to do with the Guyger trial, tweeting on Tuesday afternoon, “The rumors shared by community leaders that Mr. Brown’s death was related to the Amber Guyger trial and that DPD was responsible are false.”
“We encourage those leaders to be mindful because their words may jeopardize the integrity of the city of Dallas and DPD,” the statement continued.
Days before his death, Brown was lauded by Dallas prosecutors for his bravery in testifying against the police. Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Jean’s family in a civil trial, wrote on Facebook over the weekend, “Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence…Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family.”