For those of you that have been following the story, Amber Guyger was just found guilty of murder in her trial. You can read about the incident here. I’ve been trying to find out some hidden facts about this case, but unable to find anything that convinces me that the jury came to the wrong conclusion. I guess witnesses get to speak today before the actual sentencing, but Ms. Guyger faces up to life in prison for the killing of Botham Jean.
If you didn’t read the article, the basics of the incident is that Ms. Guyger, for whatever reason went into what she thought was her apartment, but it belonged to Mr. Jean. She thought there was an intruder, and feared for her life and ended up shooting Mr. Jean dead. The prosecution rightly proved that Ms. Guyger had other choices available to her that she could have taken, including backing out and taking cover while she called for back up. The prosecution also showed that she didn’t do enough in medical aid after the incident in trying to save the victim’s life. She clearly wasn’t thinking very clearly when she walked into the wrong apartment or in the immediate aftermath of the incident. All this I grant and she made a horrible mistake that cost an innocent person their life.
But is it murder? There was no motive, and it’s clear that Ms. Guyger is feeling great remorse for what happened. To the point where she wishes she had been the one killed and not the other way around. I guess I’m just wondering how putting her away for life in prison is going to make any of this tragedy better? From the evidence presented from the 911 call, she clearly believed that she was in her apartment, and while she didn’t act like a well-trained cop in the moment, as we’ve seen there are very few cops who might have been cool in that situation. Ms. Guyger clearly feels a great deal of remorse and pain for the what she has done, is she a danger to society? I don’t think so. Is she a racist? Well there was evidence that she definitely saw black people differently. If she didn’t have this implicit bias would things have gone differently? Perhaps. I don’t think she is the poster child for an exemplary police officer, but I also don’t see her as being so racist that she was simply looking for an opportunity to gun down a black person. I don’t see how this terrible incident is made less terrible by putting her in jail for murder. It seems clear that many people are only excited by the verdict because a cop is finally being sentenced to murder for killing an unarmed black person. There have been many of those cases where I’ve been outraged at the police being acquitted by a grand jury. I don’t think this is case to make up for all those other cases that should have been ruled differently? I don’t think the law should work like that. I feel like we aren’t setting a precedent for cops being charged with crimes for killing unarmed people, I feel like we are saying that the verdict for one person’s crime should make up for past injustices.
Ms. Guyger made some bad decisions, but I don’t feel she’s a murderer. I hope that testimony today will convince the judge that she doesn’t deserve life in prison. In the end and innocent man was killed, and that is the greater tragedy, I’m just not convinced that the verdict render changes anything other than adding more tragedy. Maybe Ms. Guyger could do more good to make up for what she’s done instead of just sitting in a cell.
I am also willing to be talked out of this position with some good arguments. Perhaps my thinking is narrow here. I am interested in hearing your thoughts.