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(DAILY MAIL UK) — The lawyer for the family of the black man shot dead by his white cop neighbor says he believes she is a racist – and said he understands Amber Guyger was sober when she killed Botham Jean.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, S. Lee Merritt said he is no closer to figuring out a definitive motive but believes Guyger has lied repeatedly in her statements to police.
He also rubbished the idea the cop and Jean, 26, had a previous relationship, saying call and text records, as well as interviews with both sets of friends and their differing lifestyles make that impossible.
But he did point to her now-deleted social media presence – noting posts likening Colin Kaepernick to cancer and others that highlighted her short temper and claimed she wears an all-black uniform so that she’s always ready for a funeral.
‘I can’t come up with a theory that works,’ Merritt told DailyMail.com. ‘I know that the statements she’s offered aren’t true and I know she’s lying because either she did something more sinister or the way she did what she did by accident was so negligent, she felt she had to come up with another story.
‘There’s aspects of her story that just could not have happened and frankly, have changed significantly in less than a week. So I know that she’s not telling the truth, I just don’t know why.’
He told DailyMail.com he had initially assumed she was drunk but said conversations with those who heard what happened contradicted that theory.
Merritt said: ‘That seemed to be the only thing that made any sense and it would almost make Amber less blameworthy if she was drunk because drinking affects your logical reasoning, it affects your ability to proceed, so it would still be tragic and it would still be criminal but it would be at least less blameworthy.
‘However, from everything I’ve been able to find, everyone that I talked to was convinced that she was not under the influence of alcohol at all – that she was sober.’
Guyger shot Jean, her upstairs neighbor, on September 6 after, she claimed, mistakenly arriving at his apartment in Dallas’ Southside Flats at 9.59pm.
On Sunday the apartment complex informed residents via email that Guyger had ‘vacated her apartment and no longer resides at our community.’
In a sworn affidavit used as the basis for her arrest warrant, the 30-year-old said she had parked on the wrong floor and made her way to what she believed was her apartment and found the door slightly ajar.
She said it opened after she ‘forcefully’ inserted her key into the lock after which she noticed a ‘dark silhouette’ in the room.
Guyger said she believed she was being burglarized and issued a series of commands which were ignored – after which she opened fire, hitting 26-year-old Jean once, fatally, in the chest.
But since her arrest and bail on manslaughter charges, a series of discrepancies have emerged in her story, while a search warrant released Thursday contradicted her claims – saying that she had banged on the door and shot Jean after he opened up.
That story tallies with what neighbors told Merritt – alleging the cop had been heard shouting ‘Let me in, let me in’ before two gunshots were heard.
And, as DailyMail.com previously reported, her claim to have found the door ajar appears shaky with video proving that the heavy metal fire doors slam shut automatically if let go.
Although similar, photos taken inside the apartment building clearly show that each home has a number lit up in neon beside the door, while access can only be gained via the use of an electronic key that flashes red if inserted into the wrong lock.
‘I almost, in the sense I want justice for the family, think bringing forward the affidavit was a mistake by the cops because it nails her into a story that is demonstrably false.’
But while he has not come up with a plausible motive for Guyger’s actions, he told DailyMail.com that he does believe her to be a racist.
Although Guyger’s social media accounts have now been deleted, some of the memes she shared have been widely circulated on Instagram – including some questionable items from her Pinterest account.
The latter was still available online until Friday when the Dallas Observer posted an article detailing some of the content.
Among them is a meme that reads: ‘I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me, because I’m already dressed for your funeral’.
Commenting underneath, Guyger who saved the post under ‘love to laugh’ wrote: ‘Yah I got meh a gun a shovel an gloves if I were u back da f**k up and get out of meh f**king a** [sic].’
Another meme features a picture of Colin Kaepernick and the words: ‘The NFL died, of Colin cancer.’ Guyger had again saved it under ‘love to laugh’.
Although Merritt says social media is only a snapshot of someone’s personality, he claims the posts are indicative of her character.
He told DailyMail.com: ‘Just a review of some of her pictures on social media, the memes that she placed, those are tell-tale signs of what she felt strongly about.
‘Guyger’s social media reflects a woman who feels strongly about people like Colin Kaepernick, calling his protest the Colin cancer of NFL.
‘She expressed a repeated and intense propensity towards violence – particularly her having a short temper, she bragged about it.
‘The world was fortunate that she didn’t stab anyone in the throat this week. She was dressed in black in preparation for our funerals so don’t mess with her.
‘Repeated threats like that she was engaging in light-heartedly. That wasn’t out of her character – that is who she was.’
Merritt, who is also representing the family of O’Shae Terry, a 24-year-old black man shot and killed during a routine traffic stop the week before Jean died, says his aim is now to get murder charges brought against Guyger and secure a conviction.
After that, he says he hopes Jean’s legacy will be an end police brutality in the US – telling DailyMail.com the case will be one of the straws that breaks the camel’s back.
He said: ‘I’ve seen his death described as the worst case of police brutality in the nation’s history because the factors surrounding the use of deadly force have gotten worse and worse and worse but when you’re literally in the safety and comfort of your own home and death visits your door, the idea that you’re safe nowhere becomes overwhelming.
‘So if his death is not the straw, it’s going to be a straw that breaks the back of police brutality and I hope that’s the legacy for the family.
‘The idea this senseless killing will go beyond this case and lead to reform throughout the country.’