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Texas Police Officer Charged with Murder as Another African American Texan is Killed in Her Home

by Matthew Tyler Boyer

Former Texas Police Officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murder on Oct. 1.

Last September, she mistook Botham Jean’s apartment for her own after a 13-hour workday and fatally shot him, as she thought he was an intruder in her apartment.

Guyger is the first Dallas police officer convicted of murder since the 1970s.

According to Bobby Allyn, a reporter for NPR, “Under Texas law, convicting a defendant of murder requires proving someone intentionally killed another person, as opposed to manslaughter, in which prosecutors have to show someone was killed because of recklessness.”

Guyger’s testimony focused on self-defense.

“I was scared whoever was inside my apartment was going to kill me,” she said. “No police officer would want to hurt an innocent person.”

The prosecution used Jean’s doormat as evidence to win Guyger’s murder conviction; Jean’s doormat was red, and Guyger did not own a doormat.

The defense made the case that the reason for wrongful death was a long workday. Guyger fired two shots at Jean, one fatal.

On Oct. 12, less than two weeks after Guyer’s conviction, a police officer in Fort Worth, Texas, fatally shot citizen Atatiana Jefferson in her home while doing a welfare check, according to P.R. Lockhart of Vox.

In this case, a woman called a non-emergency 311 number, stating that there was a door open at a home nearby.

Officer Aaron Dean fired shots through the window of Jefferson’s home, killing her.

Officer Dean was arrested Monday on a murder charge. He was freed hours later on bail.

Lee Merritt, the Jeffersons’ lawyer for this case, commented on the incident in an interview with Susan Hendricks of HLN.

“In the past two weeks, [I’ve seen] two families of unarmed, nonviolent African Americans who were in their own homes [and] were killed by police,” Merritt said. “Law-abiding citizens … This is a culture of brutality in this country that we have allowed to reach a crisis proportion.”

Jefferson’s death is the sixth fatal shooting by a police officer in Fort Worth since June 2019.

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