AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) – The Dallas Police Department on Monday fired a police officer who is facing a manslaughter charge after fatally shooting a man in his apartment and claiming she mistook it for her own.
FILE PHOTO: Officer Amber Guyger appears in a booking photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office, September 10, 2018. Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo
Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall said in a statement the department had dismissed Office Amber Guyger after nearly five years on the job for her actions on the night of the shooting on earlier in September, and for engaging in “adverse conduct” when she was arrested for manslaughter. Police did not elaborate on what it saw as adverse conduct.
Guyger, 30, had been on administrative leave after she fatally shot Botham Jean, 26. The killing of an unarmed black man by a white officer sparked protests in the Texas city, with many calling for the officer to be fired and charged with murder.
The decision to fire Guyger came after an internal review, which Guyger can appeal the decision, police said. An attorney for the officer was not immediately available for comment.
S. Lee Merritt, an attorney for the Jean family, said the police chief informed the family of the department’s decision on Sunday night and they supported the move.
“The Jean family said that this was an initial victory but are still focused on the proper indictment by the grand jury of murder, a successful prosecution and an appropriate sentence,” he said in an interview. The family is also considering suing the department and the city, he said.
Manslaughter is a lesser offense than murder for an unlawful killing that does not involve malice aforethought.
The case is before a grand jury, and District Attorney Faith Johnson said the panel may decide to uphold the manslaughter charge on which Guyger was arrested, or it could consider charging her with murder.
Police said Guyger has told investigators she mistook Jean’s residence for her own and shot him believing he was an intruder.
Guyger, who came home from her shift in uniform, said she had mistakenly gone to Jean’s apartment one floor above her own and managed to enter because the door was slightly ajar, according to an arrest warrant affidavit posted online by local media.
Entering the darkened apartment, she noticed a figure whom she said she mistook for a burglar and fired twice, striking Jean once in the chest, the affidavit said.
Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Bernadette Baum