Dallas police under fire for ‘criminalizing the victim’ of deadly police shooting

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DALLAS, Texas — Dallas police are coming under fire for the timing of the release of information obtained in a search warrant about the victim of a deadly police shooting.

Botham Jean was killed when an off-duty police officer entered his apartment last Thursday and shot him. The officer, Amber Guyger, claimed she thought it was her apartment and apparently thought Jean was an intruder.

Guyger was charged with manslaughter in the shooting and remains on administrative leave from the Dallas Police Department.

Yesterday, Fox 4 in Dallas tweeted “Search warrant: Marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment after deadly shooting.” The tweet linked to a story titled “Lawyers ‘disgusted’ by release of search warrant showing marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment.”

According to Fox 4, one of the warrants became public on Thursday, hours after Jean’s funeral. It listed several items found in Jean’s apartment, including a small amount of marijuana.

“I think it’s unfortunate that law enforcement begin to immediately criminalize the victim — in this case, someone who was clearly was the victim that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that he was shot in his home,” Lee Merritt, attorney for Jean’s family, told Fox 4. “I would love to see more information coming out about the warrants executed on the home of the shooter who lived just below him. I haven’t seen any of those. And particularly for it to be on this day the day that we remember and celebrate him… to see the common assassination attempt on the victim that we often see in law enforcement involved shootings.”

“It doesn’t change the story,” Daryl Washington, attorney for the Jean family, told Fox 4. “She claimed that she went into a place she thought was her apartment. She didn’t claim she had gone somewhere because she thought there was some sort of criminal activity.”

“I know because of how he lived his life it won’t stain his reputation because he lived his life so virtuously,” Merritt added. “But it’s unfortunate law enforcement has taken this turn.”

Of the tweet sent out by Fox 4, thousands of people responded.

“YOU are what’s wrong with news, and THIS is what’s wrong with law enforcement,” one man wrote.

Another person wrote, “so police executed a man in his home, but it’s all good because the guy may have smoked weed.”

“With the aid of local media (& notice how no reporters’ names appear on this article, just “staff”, because they want to shield their identities), the Dallas Police are trying to paint the victim as somehow (a) a sketchy guy & (v) someone responsible for his own murder,” another man wrote.

“This is nothing but a disgusting attempt to assassinate the character of a wonderful young man,” Ben Crump, attorney for the Jean family, told Fox 4.

Fox 4 reported that several warrants signed by judges and executed in the case could reveal additional information in the case.

Guyser did consent to a blood draw the night of the shooting. Toxicology reports for her and Jean are still pending, Fox 4 reported.

The same story posted to the Fox 4 Facebook page had more than 8,000 comments.


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