Dallas, TX – Protests began in the courthouse lobby shortly after a jury sentenced former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger on Wednesday afternoon to 10 years for fatally shooting her neighbor thinking she was in her own apartment.
Guyger was convicted of first-degree murder on Tuesday and Black Lives Matter claimed a victory for justice against police brutality.
The shooting happened while Guyger was off-duty.
But the celebrations came to a crashing halt when the same jury that found her guilty of murder sentenced the former police officer to only 10 out of a possible 99 years in prison for the death of 27-year-old Botham Jean, FOX News reported.
Black Lives Matter activists were outraged at what they considered to be too light of a sentence for Guyger.
Even as the victim’s younger brother, Brandt Jean, was giving a victim impact statement in the courtroom during which he told Guyger he loved her and forgave her and didn’t want her to have to go to prison, activists were chanting in the courthouse lobby and staging protests outside the courthouse for early evening.
“I want the best for you,” Brandt Jean said. “Because I know as well that’s exactly what Botham would want for you. And the best would be to give your life to Christ.”
Jean’s family and local pastors have called for peaceful protests, but his mother, Allison Jean, also told reporters in the courthouse lobby that she wanted the Dallas Police Department to clean house and accused police of corruption in investigating her son’s death.
“If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be standing here today,” Allison Jean said. “Every single one of you, citizens of Dallas … need to know what to do to get your city right.”
Officer Guyger was initially arrested on a manslaughter charge on Sept. 9, three days after she fatally shot Jean in his apartment.
A grand jury later indicted her for murder. A murder conviction could put Guyger behind bars for life, whereas manslaughter would have carried a maximum penalty of 20 years, the Dallas Morning News reported.
After having worked 14 hours serving warrants in high crime areas of the city, the exhausted officer parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage adjacent to her apartment building, WCAU reported.
The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lives on the 3rd Floor of the Southside Flats apartment complex and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.
But the off-duty officer parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage and proceeded into the building, where she went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and used her key.
The door wasn’t fully shut and opened right away.
The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.
The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door.
Officer Guyger told investigators she saw the silhouette of someone in what she believed to be her own apartment, and drew her firearm, WCAU reported. The affidavit said she believed she was being robbed.
She gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, according to the affidavit. Then she fired her weapon in the dark at the person twice, striking him once.
The arrest affidavit said it wasn’t until Officer Guyger was already on the phone with 911, that she reached to turn on the lights and she realized she was not in her own apartment.
She went into the hall and checked the address on the door and confirmed for the dispatchers that she was in unit 1478, one floor above her own apartment, WCAU reported.
Jean was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas where he later died.
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced that Guyger had been fired from the police force on Sept. 24, but not for the shooting.