Has Justice Been Served?

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.

58 thoughts on “Has Justice Been Served?

  1. Amber Guyger deserves life in prison for what she did. I’m sick of police killing Black people with impunity. If Mohammad Noir got jail time for shooting Justine Damond, then so should she. Amber is a murderer and made so many lame excuses and constantly changed her story. Also, her social media accounts had questionable things which really shows how violent her personality is. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=igorhvhlTJM

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I also don’t like that police kill black people with impunity, but that doesn’t mean all cases are equal.

      In regards to Mohammad Noor, I heavily disagreed with that sentencing as well, so just because a bad decision was made before, does not make me support another bad decisions. Two wrongs don’t make a right, in formal logic what you are using is a tu quoque argument to justify the sentencing. I’d rather look at whether decisions are right or wrong and whether they serve a higher principle justice over caring about what was done in the past. When things are unjust, decisions in the past shouldn’t be our guide.

      As I mentioned with Nan, it’s unclear how much we should glean from story inconsistencies given that this is common to eye witness testimony in any trial. I would think the story you told on the night of a traumatic event would be different than one you tell a year later. It would be more surprising if stories were to remain consistent. Our memories simply don’t work that way. This is well documented scientifically.

      Finally I am also uncomfortable trying to get a picture of a person simply from their social media. Here is an NPR podcast that deals with this issue and to what degree social media should be used as evidence in the courtroom of who somebody. Hell if somebody saw me play Cards Against Humanity they’d think I was a terrible person. Social media is a small snippet of who we are.


      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s good you don’t like it, but it’s a trend that is horrifying expecially when you consider that the slave partols were the archetype for the American policing system. How is it that people like Botham Jean, Philando Castile, or Eric Garner can be killed yet the myriad of school/mass shooters, rapists, and pedophiles can be taken alive?

        Good for disagreeing on that sentencing. There’s too many unequal sentencing, so I do my best to call out these double standards like if someone isn’t going to jail for heinous crimes (looking at you, Roman Polanski), then no one should.

        That still doesn’t excuse Guyger for not administering CPR on site, turning herself into a whiter county instead of Dallas County or having racist texts with other officers. I get memory can fluctuate, but I doubt it would have affected her that much. I’m not buying her crocodile tears.

        I sure wouldn’t trust a cop who has a meme of saying that they’re “dressed in black” to be “ready for someone’s funeral”. That should’ve raised bigger red flags than China, Turkey, and Morocco combined. People have been fired and even jailed for doing egregious things on social media. Why should cops be on a different standard?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Again…I don’t use the lowest common denominator to determine standards. I imagined that quotes similar to what she said are on many gun and military enthusiast social media pages. I don’t like it, but it doesn’t imply that someone is a cold blooded killer. You seem to be making the case for pre-meditated murder which there is no evidence of.

          I but her tears, because tears aren’t that common actually… Most cops or people like George Zimmerman aren’t even apologetic. Even when she wasn’t crying she was accepting all responsibility for what she did and didn’t do. That’s unusual in these cases and her words were very similar to those expressed by Noor.

          Your words indicate that you are someone who wants her to pay for all systemic racism and past in justices where cops get off Scott free. There is much to be outraged about, I get it.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. How is it the lowest common denominator? Are you aware how disproportionate sentences are given determined by someone’s skin color? How is it that people with drug possession convictions are serving more time than Guyger despite never hurting or killing anyone? I am somewhat relieved that you don’t like those gun and military memes, but that should’ve been a red flag. I guarantee you if a Black person had stuff on their social media page, the authorities would be on their car in a heartbeat.

            George Zimmerman and the rest of that ilk certainly weren’t apologetic, so I’ll give you that. She was pressured to confess by whoever was the prosecutor like when she testified about the CPR aspect.

            She and others who do similar or harsher things do need the hardest time possible. Of course I’m outraged, so don’t undermine how I feel about this situation given the history and current reality of how Black people are treated. Have you been racially profiled or intimidated before?


            1. How is it the lowest common denominator? Are you aware how disproportionate sentences are given determined by someone’s skin color? How is it that people with drug possession convictions are serving more time than Guyger despite never hurting or killing anyone? I am somewhat relieved that you don’t like those gun and military memes, but that should’ve been a red flag. I guarantee you if a Black person had stuff on their social media page, the authorities would be on their car in a heartbeat.

              I am aware of all of this. My question to you is why do you think equality means that people should be punished in the same way as another group of people who is being unfairly unpunished. It seems to me the answer is to not punish black people as harshly, to not punish drug crimes as harshly, yet you seem to advocate for Amber Guyger harshly solely because poor people, addicts, or African-Americans are being punished disproportionately strong sentences for their crimes.

              It’s the same thing with the Noor case you brought up. He never should have been charged as harshly in my opinion.

              To put it more simply your argument seems to me…well person X was hanged for their crime, so we have to keep hanging people, because it’s not fair to the previous person who was hung.

              However are we ever to make progress in justice if we are calling for harsh sentencing to be applied equally, when we should be calling for less harsh sentencing to be applied equally?

              Liked by 1 person

            2. Sorry for the delay. I had to deal with work and I had to calm down a lot before I could make a response. I do want people to be treated with dignity when it comes to equality. The problem is with my personal experiences is that I’ve seen people get slap on the wrist for doing bad things, but when I do the same thing, make a mistake or less, then I’m treated like I’m Satan incarnate. I felt that if I had to suffer then anyone who did the same as me had to suffer like me. It’s a shame that America has a horrific history when it comes to treating non-whites as subhuman and I dare anyone to defy that. I rarely see people who do some of the most evil things get severely punished and it always angers me to no end.

              I’m glad we can agree on that much when it came to Noor.

              That’s not how I would put it in my argument, but equality has to be given. If people are treated justly, then everyone should be treated justly. However, this world is far too cruel for so many societies to make sure no one gets mistreated let alone getting constructive help.

              I wish it were the case. I’m sick of seeing innocent people dying or being jailed for no reason. Some of the most heinous criminals aren’t behind bars.

              Liked by 1 person

    1. Swarn, you stated below to Pink:

      But the charge is not laid upon you when you’re on your own property.

      If she and Mr. Botham Jean WERE having a steamy affair, might she think the apartment—she had been inside many, many times—initially convince her she WAS in her own apartment/property… until is was too late, when it wasn’t her “legal” property as a pseudo-legal partner? 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

        1. Oh, for everyone reading MY imaginative forensic comment(s), 😉 it is indeed my own theory. I have learned that “public” appearance/image can sometimes be the extreme opposite of what a person’s private/intimate truth/reality might be. From Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Sherlock Holmes):

          When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.

          Anybody is capable of astonishing and fooling everyone, even Ms. Guyger. I know PLENTY of Caucasian women who fantasize of being (privately) with African-American men just to spite their fathers or friends/community. Others may fantasize of playing what’s called Power Exchange, where the woman (of law-enforcement) dominates the male. Nonetheless, if one lives among an extremely rigid (prejudiced?) Conservative society, there are cases where a few rebel, perhaps rebel hard! When living in Mississippi for 9-years I saw plenty of this behavior. But it would still be way too risky for Ms. Guyger(?) to allow this theory to leak out. Hence, keep it a very tight secret… inside Mr. Botham Jean’s apartment. Unfortunately, under my theory, Ms. Guyger’s intense passion and anger got the best of her. And yes, I’m projecting my forensic imagination onto what I’ve experienced to be common human behavior, especially in the South, including Dallas!

          And Nan, as I was looking up geographical facts on Guyger and Jean, look what I found:


          Liked by 1 person

        2. Here’s the specific part of that NPR article I’m referring to:

          To prosecutors, Guyger’s distraction led to a crime.

          Just before Guyger entered Jean’s apartment, she had a 16-minute phone conversation with a fellow officer, Martin Rivera. Authorities say the two had a romantic relationship and that they had been swapping sexually explicit messages.

          But in my opinion the article is a little ambigious of who was exchanging sexual/romantic explicit texts. It seems they are referring to Guyger and Rivera? But could NPR have meant Guyger and Jean? I’m unsure. But as I told Swarn below, I haven’t followed this case/trial one bit. 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

  2. Personally, I think the verdict and punishment is appropriate.

    From the very beginning, I had problems with her excuse that she went to the “wrong apartment.” I felt from the beginning she knew exactly what she was doing. She knew who was living there.

    But taking her excuse as genuine, as a police officer, she was well aware of other ways she could have handled the incident. Sure, she had just pulled a long shift, but this, IMO, is no excuse for her actions.

    Also, from my understanding, the man did not approach her … in fact, I read that he was sitting on the couch eating ice cream. So what was her motivation? Could it *gasp* have been racial?

    As for her weeping and excuses in court? IMO, they were nothing more than efforts to sway the jury.

    Perhaps you have a point that sitting in a jail cell doesn’t accomplish much … but that’s the way the justice system works in this country. Undoubtedly there’s a better way, but until the powers-that-be make changes …

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you Nan. Perhaps you are right, but to my knowledge they never actually established a motive, and if you were going to kill someone just because they were black why would you pick someone in your own building and then call 911? It’s hardly the perfect murder.

      I mean you’re texting, you’ve just come off a 14 hour shift…hell I’ve walked into the wrong bathroom just because I was looking at my phone when walking.

      I don’t deny that she had other options that she should have used, but typically manslaughter is the charge for unintentionally killing someone after making a bad decision.

      Should one not cry when your future is on the line? What is the proper behavior in court for such a serious situation? Was she psychologically profiled as a sociopath that we know the tears were faked.

      One of the things that I’ve noticed too is that there are always inconsistency in stories. Doesn’t matter who. Human memories are unreliable. I would be more surprised if a story remained consistent from the night of an incident to a year later.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. We all see things from different perspectives. Sometimes our perspectives agree; sometimes they don’t.

        You make good points in defense of your outlook, but I’m not convinced. 🙂 I still think she knew exactly what she was doing. The motivation behind her actions may never be known, but based on what we do know … I tend to agree with the Assistant District Attorney when he said: “Killing this man was unnecessary and it was unreasonable.”

        Liked by 4 people

        1. It certainly would not be how I’d react in the same situation. I completely agree. In terms of the verdict though it just didn’t seem as obvious to me as other cases where somehow the cops were acquitted.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. I think you’re misreading the law. Intent to murder doesn’t have to be planned. It can happen in the immediate lead-up to the event. Dramas aside, murder is simply “purposefully or knowingly killing another human being”. Manslaughter would mean killing without having intended to cause a deadly situation. The moment you pull out a gun and point it at someone – the goose is cooked.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. That’s a good point regarding 3rd degree murder. But the charge is not laid upon you when you’re on your own property. She believed she was. Obviously the reality is that she wasn’t, but just saying that people have gotten off before shooting someone when protecting themselves or property. I guess that’s what it comes down to. If one actually believes that at some point she realized she wasn’t in her own apartment or if you believe she had a reason to murder this man then I think murder is fairly reasonable. It’s a very unusual case for that reason.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. In most of the developed world the law is based on proportionality. If there’s an intruder in *my own house* I cannot just kill him. This American stand your ground notion is an obscene abuse of long standing legal standards and ethics. Is that what you’re implying is reasonable?

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, I don’t think stand your ground is a reasonable law at all, but legally that distinction matters here in the U.S. I don’t think someone trying to take your stereo deserves to die. I certainly think some jail time is warranted and obviously she should not be a cop. I just don’t think this is flagship case for punishing cops for killing unarmed black men.

          Liked by 1 person

            1. Like I said, you’ve been the most convincing so far. Which is so unusual because most of the time you are just the most abusive.

              But I guess if we are going to move to a how the law should be conversation, I guess I believe her remorse and acknowledgement that she made the wrong decision. So different from George Zimmerman in killing Trayvon Martin who seemed remorseless and just kept claiming that he was doing what the law allowed. Maybe the verdict isn’t the wrong one, but I don’t know if a long lock up here is justice and maybe she won’t. I think sentencing is today

              Liked by 2 people

            2. I suppose I don’t disagree, but that’s a whole other can of worms. Her sentence has to be proportional to others for murder. How about around 5 years above the maximum sentence for manslaughter? And a firearms ban for life.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. That assumes that past punishments were just. I’d also rather set precedents that are more restorative than retributive. I guess 7 years prison and a lifetime ban on firearms is as far as I’d go.

              Liked by 2 people

  4. kiabooks

    Would it make a difference if she thought it was her apt, she came in and he threatened her physically?
    There might be a “stand your ground” issue even if it wasn’t her apt, but she thought at the time that it was. Race may not have had anything to do with it at all.
    Either way, traggic for the families on both sides of the table.
    But no, I don’t think murder and life in prison. She will have to serve time but makes no sense that it would be life.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. In general I’m not a punitive type person. I am much more for restorative justice. I’ve just seen so many videos where I thought for sure the cop is going to get nailed for this one and they get off and it makes me angry…I just don’t feel the same sense of outrage here. Maybe if there was a video of the shooting I might. But it’s not just because she cried, but I just feel like I’m a pretty good judge of character. I can tell my psychopaths from those who are shamming emotions. I’ve literally never failed to detect it in the past. I probably should have been a cop. lol

      Liked by 2 people

          1. How do you know that’s all she’s sorry for? Do you know how this experienced might have impacted her? Are you suggesting that get racially insensitive remarks demonstrate a willingness to gun down a black person in her own home? Can you demonstrate in any way that if the same situation occurred and it was a white person instead she would have reacted differently? What evidence are you looking at here?

            Liked by 2 people

            1. Your questions, of course, are pertinent to the situation. But the actuality is many (most?) of us judge people and events by our own experiences and this can’t help but influence our outlook.

              Few are able to sit back and unemotionally consider the rights and/or wrongs of the actions of others because we tend to judge them by our own life experiences.

              While most of us wouldn’t for a moment pull out a gun and shoot someone (whatever the circumstances), there are those who feel this is their only choice. And, as you pointed out, it has, regrettably, become a part of American culture.

              I tend to think the only way some of these cultural mores will be overcome is if (when?) the human race is faced with a far bigger concern — one that they can’t deny or walk away from. In a word … the environment. Contrary to the deniers … the consequences will affect each and every person.

              OK … I’m stepping off my soapbox. 🙂

              Liked by 2 people

            2. If she were really that sorry, she’d stay in Dallas County to turn herself in instead of an adjacent county with a higher Caucasian population to be in a place where more people look like her. How it impacted her? How about Botham Jean? He’s the one who died and never killed anybody. Are you making her sound like the victim? This wasn’t her house. She was in his apartment. If she did gun down a white person, then she’d get punished harder and faster. This is all pattern recognition with how certain people have been treated. Besides, Black people are never asked about how they feel when they are accused of something.

              This is a tragic situation and I wished Botham Jean was still alive. I think so many people are excited that he’s dead which is saddening.

              Liked by 1 person

            3. Black people are never asked about how they feel when they are accused of something.

              Why are you always wanting people to be treated in the worse possible way in the name of equality?

              I am in no way considering her the victim. I’m simply asking you on what basis you assume her emotions and motivations.

              Liked by 2 people

            4. I wouldn’t go that far. I just want the most despicable people to be punished at all costs. Equality shouldn’t be something people should fear. I am sick of the most morally repugnant people doing the most heinous crimes getting away with it when those who are oppressed are demonized without cause and/or having their lives snuffed out in ways that aren’t their fault. It’s sickening how Guyger was treated better than people who have more jail time for non-violent crimes assuming if they actually did it. There have been innocent people who were executed and their families never got restitution. Is it too much to ask for people to be on the same playing field when it comes to justice instead of making an imbalance based on race and/or class? Maybe I just care too much, then.

              To be honest, I would be very concerned if you thought she was. I see an obvious pattern of showing fake tears and wanting to play the victim throughout this case. She was more concerned about losing her job than Botham Jean losing his life by her hands.

              Even with my anger showing up in these comments, I do clarify that none of it is towards you. I’m just beyond frustrated with this whole situation.

              Liked by 2 people

            5. I appreciate your willingness to have this discussion, as I can tell this is an emotional subject for you. I share your outrage, I really do. And maybe my view of Amber Guyger’s remorse is wrong. I have typically been very good at detecting bullshit, but I’m certainly not infallible. There is no question Guyger is far from perfect, but I think there is evidence of a heart there too. I don’t think we disagree on that much honestly but I am big into restorative justice and tend to rail against the eye for an eye mentality. I think John Legend can some up my view pretty well here. This tweet was from a few weeks ago.

              Thank you for your patience and the conversation.

              Liked by 2 people

            6. Thank you, Swarn. It’s good to know you share my outrage. That could be the case on how we may not disagree all that much, but we may have different experiences to how we react to injustices. I just read those tweets from John Legend. Definitely fascinating words there and I’m glad a celebrity like him is talking about unequal sentencing.

              You’re welcome.

              Liked by 2 people

            1. Even if the texts were allegedly irrelevant, I still wouldn’t put it past her to still think that way since she did spend all that time scrubbing her social media pages and text conversations.


            2. I mean given how easily people make judgments based on small snippets from social media, I can understand concern. Hell every college student wipes their social media when they apply for jobs.

              If you listen to the podcast I linked you, you would see evidence of why using social media as a tool to make judgments about an individual is a bad idea. It shouldn’t be used in court.


            3. That’s true about recent grads scrubbing their social media accounts from what I’ve heard. I’m not talking about some stupid pictures of lampshades over people’s heads or cartoon memes. I see sociopathic memes and images.

              Of course only some people get judged as harshly when it comes to their social media profiles in court cases.

              Liked by 1 person

  5. It’s hard to judge without knowing all the details (and the jury presumably knows much more than we do). But Guyger must have been guilty of almost unbelievable negligence in not immediately realizing she was in the wrong apartment. Even if two apartments have an identical floor plan, furniture and decorations are usually quite different. She should have realized she was in the wrong place in less time than it took to notice Jean’s presence and shoot.

    I have an absolute right to kill anyone who invades my home without permission. They intruded of their own free will, and they knew that this is how things are done in the US. I do not recognize any obligation to retreat and put my home at risk at the hands of an interloper, nor to put myself at risk by hesitating to shoot. But that presupposes a situation where there’s no ambiguity about the fact that it is my home. Guyger was not in that position. She had a whole apartment-full of visual evidence in front of her that she was in the wrong place.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Presumably that is something the jury might have got to see. Pictures of the two apartments for comparison. A single cop who doesn’t spend a lot of time at home and a single young male perhaps don’t do a lot of decorating. It could also be the case that being severely cognitively fatigued after a 14 hour shift and having the belief you are in your own home makes you overlook important details you would otherwise catch. This is a well known phenomenon. I agree with you though that it would be hard for me to imagine making that mistake, but given the conditions of cutout apartment layouts, low lighting, a strong belief about where you are, and high fatigue it’s also not impossible to imagine a mistake being made like that.

      Perhaps knowing all the evidence of the case I would change my mind about the sentencing. I just haven’t be able to find any evidence thus far that convinces me she is flat out lying and knew where she was at the time.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. I have the benefit of reading all the comments above and no ( I didn’t click on the link). While it is possible to go into the wrong apartment, I think unless you live in a very unsafe place, you’d not draw your gun first but then, it is Americans we are dealing with. And the reports tend to show reason doesn’t apply when guns are involved.
    I advocate for abolition of prisons being that generally and in many places, most of the people who go there don’t get rehabilitated. It does seem to me the prisons are not doing society any good. So a long prison sentence for an act of stupidity leading to the death of an innocent person do not seem to me to be just. The issue of race makes it even complex. There is urgent need to address race relationships especially in the manner police officers guilty of killing innocent people- black, white, pink- are treated.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah I was having this discussion with my wife this morning. Esme in another post brought this up as well. Since you, my wife, me, and Esme are all from different countries are first reaction to danger or when we think about things that make us feel “safe” a gun doesn’t enter into the picture. Guns are so ingrained in the culture here it’s hard to understand. I am glad that the ruling acknowledged the fact that even if there is somebody who shouldn’t be in the apartment, our first instinct shouldn’t be to gun them down. However I think that, in a way, this philosophy is unusual in the context of the U.S., particularly in a state like Texas. We need a real cultural shift, not only in our approach to guns, but obviously we need to honestly approach racism as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I haven’t been following the story or the trial, but it seems pretty open and shut. By your description she trespassed on buddy’s property and then killed him. I’m not sure about your concern about motive. My understanding is that action and intent are what is required to determine if a crime has been committed. For murder, the intent required is the intent to kill, which she surely had. It wasn’t pre-meditated and it wasn’t accidental (she didn’t accidentally kill him), so it’s 2nd degree murder (if that’s still what it’s called). It doesn’t matter that she thought that she was in her own apartment and it doesn’t matter if she’s a racist. Those are things that can be considered during sentencing. But, as to whether it was murder, how could it be anything but?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, I have been convinced it was the right verdict, but I don’t think that intent is completely irrelevant to sentencing and I think that if she believed she was in her apartment that this should also impact sentencing. If she is truly remorseful and recognizes the wrongness of her actions, I didn’t feel a life sentence was fair. I’m pleased with the sentencing that was rendered given the unusualness of the case.

      Liked by 1 person

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