The Dallas police officer who killed her neighbor after she walked into his apartment thinking it was her own has been convicted of murder, according to local reports.
Tuesday’s verdict elicited cheers from the hallway outside the courtroom and sobs from family of the victim, the Dallas Morning News reported. It followed a high-profile seven-day trial that reconstructed the evening of Sept. 6, 2018, when Amber Guyger mistakenly entered Botham Jean’s apartment. The off-duty officer said she thought she was in her unit, one floor below, and that the 26-year-old accountant was burglarizing her home.
But Guyger, a white woman who had just finished a long shift at work, was on the wrong floor of the building. In a matter of seconds, prosecutors said, Jean — an unarmed black man watching TV and eating ice cream in his own apartment — was dying on the ground, a fatal gunshot wound in his chest.
The shooting touched off days of protests in Dallas and demands for police reform. Many saw it as another egregious example of a white officer killing an unarmed black man, part of a pattern of police wielding deadly force disproportionately against people of color.
But the unusual facts of this case made it unique among other high-profile fatal police shootings, most of which are never even prosecuted.
During the trial, Guyger took the stand, offering a tearful defense and repeated apologies.
“I shot an innocent man,” she said during her testimony, the first time the public had heard from her since the shooting.
Guyger’s lawyers have said the 31-year-old, who was fired from the police force shortly after she killed Jean, was exhausted and scared when she heard someone inside the unit she thought was her own that night. She opened the door, saw a “silhouette figure” in the dark apartment and feared for her life, they said. She said she asked to see his hands, but he just walked toward her. She fired two shots.