Attorneys for family criticize affidavit in Dallas shooting


DALLAS — Attorneys for the family of a black man who was shot and killed by a white Dallas police officer who says she mistook his apartment for hers are criticizing an affidavit that gives a narrative of what happened.

The lawyers said the arrest affidavit released Monday contradicts neighbours’ accounts. Amid their concerns, though, the district attorney said the case against Amber Guyger will get a hard look by her office and be presented to a grand jury, which could decide on more serious charges than manslaughter in last week’s shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean.

Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys for Jean’s family, said the affidavit “is very self-serving.” And Lee Merritt, who is also representing the family, called it an attempt to “condone what happened, give her a break.”

The document, prepared by a Texas Ranger, appeared to be based almost entirely on Guyger’s account.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force, told investigators that she had just ended a 15-hour shift Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.

When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit said. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer’s account.

The officer told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.

She called 911 and, when asked where she was, returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit. Authorities have not released the 911 tapes.

The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide. Guyger was arrested Sunday night and booked into jail in neighbouring Kaufman County before being released on bond.

At a news conference Monday evening, Merritt said two independent witnesses have told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting.

He said one witness reported hearing a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in! Let me in!” Then they heard gunshots, after which one witness said she heard a man’s voice say, “Oh my God! Why did you do that?”

Merritt said he believes those were Jean’s last words.

As for the contention that Jean left his front door ajar, Merritt said Jean was a “meticulous individual” who made it “a point to close the door behind him.”

“He put everything in a particular place,” Merritt said.

He said Jean had a red doormat outside his apartment door. “In fact, to ensure no one mistook his apartment the way this officer is claiming in this case, he went out and bought the biggest, brightest red rug and placed it right there at his …read more

Source:: Nationalpost – News

      

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