Criminal defense lawyers are telling one television station in Dallas that they do not see the crime in the case of a white off-duty police officer who fatally shot a Black neighbor when she says, she mistook his apartment for her own.
In the case of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, attorneys are telling CBS 11 they are not as convinced as some protesters that the four-year department veteran intended to do anything wrong. Guyger, 30, has been charged with manslaughter in the Thursday night death of Botham Shem Jean, a 26-year-old employee of PricewaterhouseCoopers.
In examining the arrest warrant naming Guyger, one lawyer said he was surprised not to see words such as “intentional” or “reckless” used, because they typically appear on such documents.
“It’s an interesting read,” criminal defense attorney George Milner told CBS 11. “It doesn’t read anything beyond negligence … they simply do not specify how she is reckless, which is the required mental state for manslaughter. It reads much more like an accidental killing — I mean, if someone were to drop a gun accidentally and it fired and hit somebody.”
The Texas Rangers, the equivalent of the state police in other places, are investigating the incident. Milner told CBS 11 that said his impression is that the Rangers were very careful not to implicate Guyger in the warrant.
Another lawyer echoed Milner’s take that the document suggests a mistake was made.
“If it was a reasonable mistake of fact, that’s an affirmable defense that is going to weigh into this thing very heavily,” criminal defense lawyer Robert Hinton told the station.
Guyger has said she thought she was entering her third-floor apartment, one floor below Jean’s, when she shot and killed him. Lawyers representing the family have said neighbors reported hearing a woman’s voice saying, “Let me in, let me in.”