Dallas police officer who shot man in his own apartment indicted on manslaughter charge

Faith leaders and church members surrounded a government vehicle after Samuel Oliver-Bruno was arrested. CREDIT: Travis Long/The News & Observer via AP

A police officer who claimed she killed a Dallas man in his own apartment in the mistaken belief that he was in her home has been indicted on a charge of manslaughter

The indictment of Amber Guyger comes more than two months after she was arrested in the shooting death of Botham Shem Jean at the Dallas apartment complex where both lived — a killing that sparked days of protests.

Guyger, who was arrested and fired from her job as a Dallas police officer after the September shooting, initially faced a charge of manslaughter. But Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson had said a grand jury could issue a stiffer charge.

A charge of manslaughter carries a sentence of up to 20 years in prison.

Botham Jean’s family had wanted Guyger to be indicted for murder, their attorney Daryl Washington told CNN.

Guyger, who is white, was off-duty when she encountered Jean, an 26-year-old unarmed black man, in his apartment on September 6, police said. Still in her uniform, Guyger parked her car in the complex and walked to what she believed was her apartment, according to an arrest warrant affidavit.

The door was slightly ajar as she tried to use her key, which has an electronic chip. When she opened the door, she saw the interior was almost completely dark, according to the affidavit. She described seeing a large silhouette and, believing there was an intruder in her apartment, drew her firearm.

She issued verbal commands, but Jean, being in his own home, did not heed them, and Guyger fired two shots, hitting him once in the torso, the affidavit said.

Guyger, a four-year veteran, then entered the apartment, called 911 and started administering first aid to Jean. She turned on the lights while on the phone with 911, and only when asked for her address did she realize she was in the wrong apartment, she told police.

Jean died at a hospital. Guyger was arrested September 9 on suspicion on manslaughter, and was released from the Kaufman County Jail after posting a $300,000 bond.

The Dallas Police Department fired Guyger during a hearing September 24, the police chief said.

The shooting sparked days of protest. Police deployed pepper balls on demonstrators a week after the shooting. Protesters angry with the lack of public information in the case interrupted a City Council meeting to demand accountability and more police oversight in general.

Jean’s parents filed a lawsuit in federal court against Guyger and the city last month, alleging Guyger used excessive force.