According to a new report, the family of Botham Jean has plans to sue the City of Dallas arguing that his rights were violated when a misguided officer barged into his home and shot and killed him, Fox 4 News reports.
The civil lawsuit comes just days after Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was fired after an investigation into how she ended up at Jean’s apartment door and killed him in his own home, Fox 4 News reports.
Guyger has been charged with manslaughter. However, pending a grand jury inquiry, those charges could be upgraded.
The lawsuit argues that the off-duty officer, Guyger, violated Jean’s civil rights when she entered his apartment and shot him, claiming that she believed that she was in her apartment which was one floor above where Jean lived at Southside Flats.
What Happened that Night?
An arrest affidavit prepared by a Texas Ranger provides a confusing narrative of what happened that night based almost entirely on the officer’s account.
Guyger 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.
Guyger 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 any 911 tapes related to the shooting.
The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide. The officer was arrested and booked into jail in neighboring Kaufman County before being released on bond.
Attorney for Jean’s family, Lee Merritt, said at a news conference that 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.