It was two shots that were heard around the country — maybe even the whole world. In September of 2018, Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered the apartment of her neighbor, Botham Jean, and fired bullets into his body. Later on, she would claim that she did so in self-defense, believing that his apartment was her own. Jean died as a result of his injuries. In the weeks, months and year that followed, these events would shine a light on the Dallas police force and even the legal system at large.
First, the community clamored for Amber Guyger to be arrested in the first place. With the police force on her side, Gugyer seemed to initially be capable of avoiding charges after the murder. Eventually, however, the law prevailed and Guyger was arrested for the killing of Botham Jean. Her trial last month was marked by astonishing twists and turns, many of which were dutifully recorded by the news media. First there was the matter of her romantic relationship with her married police partner. In the minutes leading up to the fatal incident, it was reported that Guyger had been calling and sending text messages to Martin Rivera. The prosecution seemed to put forth that this was why Guyger was distracted and parked on the wrong floor — an action that would later prove fateful as she then walked to the wrong apartment. Not noticing the bright red mat in front of the door — or many of the other landmarks that would indicate she was on the wrong floor — Guyger then opened Jean’s door and fired upon him, supposedly believing that he was an intruder.
Over the course of the trial, the events that led up to the shooting would be rehashed and scrutinized in painfully intricate detail. The way that Guyger opened the door was even discussed and explored. Later in the trial, the judge would make a controversial move by allowing the jury to apply Castle Doctrine if they wanted. This law is the one that many compare to Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, and its inclusion stirred up social media. The lawmaker who created the law bemoaned the fact that it was being applied to this particular case, saying that it wasn’t the original intent of the law at all. In the end, though, it didn’t seem to matter. Guyger was found guilty and sentenced to 10 years in prison.