Daily US Times: A Texas court is set to hear arguments Tuesday on overturning the conviction of a former police officer of Dallas named Amber Guyger, who was sentenced to prison for fatally shooting her neighbor in his home.
An attorney for Ms Guyger and prosecutors are set to clash before an appeals court over whether the evidence against the officer was sufficient to prove that her 2018 shooting of Botham Jean was murder.
The hearing before a panel of judges will examine a Dallas County jury’s 2019 rule to sentence the officer to 10 years in prison for murder.
It comes as a jury’s finding that a former police officer from Minneapolis was guilty of murdering African American George Floyd has again focused national attention on police killing people of color.
More than two years before Floyd’s death set off protests across the US and the world, Guyger’s killing of Jean drew national attention because of the strange circumstances of the incident and because it was one in a string of shootings of Black men by white police officers.
The basic facts of the case against the officer were not in dispute. Guyger, returning home from a long shift, mistook Jean’s flat for her own, which was on the floor directly below his. Finding the door ajar, the police officer entered and shot him, later testifying that she through he was a burglar.
Jean was a 26-year-old accountant and had been eating a bowl of ice cream before Guyger shot him.
Guyger was later fired from the Dallas Police Department.
The appeal from Guyger, who is now 32, hangs on the contention that her mistaking Jean’s apartment for her own was reasonable and, therefore, so too was the shooting.
Guyger’s lawyers have asked the appeals court to acquit her of murder or to substitute in a conviction for criminally negligent homicide, which carries a lesser sentence.