Dallas street to be named in honor of Botham Jean
Botham Jean was killed in 2018 by an off duty police officer
Wednesday, the Dallas City Council approved measures to rename a four-mile stretch of road “Botham Jean Boulevard,” in honor of the 26-year-old Black man who in 2018 was shot to death in his home by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger.
“This street on which he chose to live and the street on which he died can serve as a lasting memory of the upstanding resident who loved Dallas so much,” Allison Jean, his mother, told Dallas News of the road on South Lamar Street between Interstate 30 and South Central Expressway. “I’m grateful South Lamar is being renamed to Botham Jean Boulevard. But it doesn’t bring my son back.”
The street’s name change will officially take place within 60 days, and city officials estimate it will cost approximately $20,000 to change the street signs. Council Member David Blewett raised concerns about the costs associated with the name change, noting that it would be prudent to delay the street naming decision until after the federal wrongful death lawsuit was brought to a resolution.
“I am very troubled about having some kind of back and forth while we’re involved with civil litigation,” said said Blewett. “This isn’t personal, and I take it very serious that we do this right.”
Blewett’s motion failed 11-4. But despite what appears to be a victory for the Jean family, his mother concedes it was “a bittersweet moment.” She also expressed her disappointment that the lawsuit was brought up as a reason to delay a decision about honoring her son.
“The renaming of Lamar Street in my mind is a gesture to honor Botham and what he meant to the city of Dallas, and the litigation is to seek accountability for what was done to him,” she continued. “It so happens that the city is involved in both. But I don’t see how one connects with the other, and I thought to do so was low.”
Some critics speculated that renaming the street where police headquarters is located in honor of someone killed by a police officer seemed like a form of punishment.
But Councilman Casey Thomas said that instead of treating this as punishment, the name change should instead be framed as a way for the city to celebrate “someone who exemplified the character and expectation that we hope for anyone who calls Dallas home.”
“We don’t need to make this convoluted. We don’t need to have this be political,” Thomas said. “It’s not a matter of Black and blue. It’s not a matter of Black and white. It’s a matter of wrong and right.”
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