Allison Jean’s son, Botham Jean, was careful to avoid police officers. Then he was killed by one.

By New York Times

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Botham Shem Jean’s parents, Allison and Bertrum, and brother, Brandt, in New York on Sept. 20. Botham Shem Jean was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer who says she mistook him for a burglar in his own home.

(NEW YORK TIMES) — He drove the speed limit. He kept his car in good repair. Instead of shorts or T-shirts, he wore Ralph Lauren dress shirts.

For years before he was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer who says she mistook him for a burglar in his own home, Botham Shem Jean had gone out of his way to avoid even routine encounters with police, his mother, Allison Jean, said during a visit to New York City on Thursday with her lawyer, Lee Merritt.

Jean said her son had to explain life in America — where for black men in particular, a minor traffic stop can turn deadly — to his family back home on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia.

“I always told him, ‘Why do you have to be so dressy?’” Jean recalled in an interview. “He said ‘Mom, I don’t want to be stopped. I don’t want for them to think I’m somebody I’m not.’”

In 2016, when Botham Jean moved to Dallas to take an internship with the accounting firm PwC, formerly known as PricewaterhouseCoopers, he made sure to transfer his car registration within the 30-day limit.

Unlike many mothers of African-American boys, Allison Jean, who headed several government agencies on St. Lucia, never gave her son, a risk assurance associate, a talk about avoiding police.

“We are predominantly black in St. Lucia,” she said as she prepared to return to the island for her son’s burial. “I never had to face any racial issues.” But now Jean’s death is being held up as evidence that blacks in America are not safe, even in their own homes.

How much his race played a role in what happened when Amber R. Guyger, a white off-duty Dallas police officer, arrived at Jean’s door on the night of Sept. 6 is unclear, as are many of the details of what led to the shooting. Even if it was a tragic error, Allison Jean wonders if Guyger would have fired as quickly had her son not been black.

A police affidavit says that Guyger, who lived in the apartment directly below Botham Jean’s, said she had parked on the wrong floor in the adjacent parking garage, and mistakenly believed she was entering her own home. When she saw Jean, she believed she was encountering a burglar, which the affidavit said she “described as a large silhouette.”

After drawing her gun and issuing verbal commands, with which Jean did not comply, the affidavit says, she fired the gun twice, striking Jean once in the torso.

On Thursday, Allison Jean suggested that Guyger had invoked the term “silhouette” to imply that she did not know Botham Jean’s race.

“She would have been able to see his complexion,” Allison Jean said. “I think the word silhouette was deliberately used to erase the racial issue.”

Robert L. Rogers, a lawyer representing Guyger, declined to comment.

In another interview Thursday, a neighbor who lives on the same floor as Botham Jean said that she, too, questioned Guyger’s contention that it was too dark to see into the apartment. The neighbor, who requested anonymity because she is also a city employee, said that the lighting in the hallway is bright and illuminates the inside of the apartments when the door is open.

“Even if all the lights are off, I can see what my furniture looks like, I can see everything in the apartment,” said the neighbor, who said she heard a woman yelling in what she said sounded like “a one-sided argument’’ before gunshots went off on the night of the episode, after which she heard another voice, which she presumed was Botham Jean’s. Some of this account might comport with Guyger’s statement that she gave verbal commands.

But the neighbor said that the door could not have been ajar, as Guyger told police, according to the affidavit. “The doors are made so when you walk in they slam behind you,” she said. “They’re heavy.”

Accounts from other neighbors in local news reports have not been entirely consistent. At least one has said that Guyger could be heard pounding on the door asking to be allowed in, Merritt said, contrary to her account that she let herself in.

In the affidavit, Guyger said that after the shooting she immediately called 911. That was around 10 p.m.

Allison Jean, who spoke to her son every day, had last spoken to him the night before at 9:30, she said. That night, “I looked at my watch and I said, ‘He may be calling soon,’” she said. “When it was 10, I found it strange he didn’t call.”

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

7 comments

  1. Hello, Hoping this letter reaches the Jean Family. So much chaos, not sure whom to contact. We @gfnradio1 is open to creating a radio ( live video feed, similar to Breakfast Club ) 3-4 days a week covering this story until there is justice done as well as assist in creating fundraising campaign donations for the family.

    There is no Tv station devoting more than 4 min to cover this story weekly! We will be that one medium where accountability will be a necessity. GFNRADIO is that station!!

    We are located in Dallas, NY, NJ, Baltimore, FLA, AFRICA, UK & our Stations reaches over 70 Different Countries. We have dedicated this radio Station for change for all communities introducing ONE VOICE and a central location where everyone can get correct up to date information.

    Its time all Units Operates as a plan System vs single operators. We have many strategic plans that we together can assist in changing the lives of our communities Internationally

    We are very much interested in not only our Brother Jean but all that proceeds him until we as a unit demands justice.

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  2. I believe there's more to this story. I believe that either a) They had a romantic relationship and it ended badly and she couldn't take the rejection or b)it was just a sexual relationship between the two and maybe, just maybe he'd left her for another woman or just ended things with her and she couldn't take the rejection. I'm forming this conclusion based off the neighbors' testimonies that they heard "her" screaming to let them in. There's more to this story then what has been released to the public. Even if this is the case, this woman took another person's life without any mercy. She should've been fired and have to serve time for the crime she committed. I live in Houston which is not far from Dallas and this story has shaken everyone to the core. My heart goes out to the Jean family.

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  3. Guyger is lying to avoid punishment. She, like other White cops who've killed unarmed Black men and boys, want to kill a Black person but not be punished. I believe there is a secret society of wealthy White people who are paying off White cops to kill black men. There must be something beneath the surface that drives these killings. Each one is well publicized but yet White officers all across America are taking a chance on killing a Black person and then trying to lie their way out of punishment. In the end after all is said and done they are likely paid for the crime.

    (3)(0)
  4. Guyger is lying to avoid punishment. She, like other White cops who've killed unarmed Black men and boys, want to kill a Black person but not be punished. I believe there is a secret society of wealthy White people who are paying off White cops to kill black men. There must be sothing beneath the surface that drives these killings. Each one is well publicized but White officers all across America are taking a chance on killing Blacks and try to lie their way out of punishment. In the end after all is said and done the likely get paid for the crime.

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  5. America is soaked in racism and this case is exposing some of the USA 's hidden dirty laundry. If you are non white in America, just be ready to be exrra careful how you live. Just living while black gets you killed. It may sound sick and crazy but that is the reality.

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  6. It’s time to stop being selfish, be an adult live up to the oath that you took and tell the truth. We all know that you are lying and you’re not doing anyone any favors . God knows what you did you can’t hide it from him and you will pay either here or after and forever .....If you hold on to your secrets and torture this family of God for the rest of their days ..... you’ll pay for that as well ..... Gods judgement is fair and just you will get exactly what you deserve ....So do yourself and the rest of us especially his loved ones and tell the truth .

    (12)(0)
  7. My heart goes out to you Mrs. Jean. Be strong, God is with you.

    (10)(0)

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