Note: Since the initial protests, Guyger has been arrested and charged with manslaughter.
Only one week had passed since the sentencing of Roy Oliver, the police officer who murdered 15-year-old Jordan Edwards in Balch Springs, Texas, when news broke that more victims had been murdered at the hands of police in Dallas-Ft Worth.
On Sept. 7, nearly 150 people gathered in front of Dallas Police Headquarters to remember Botham Shem Jean, the 26-year-old man from St. Lucia shot and killed in his own home by DPD officer Amber Guyger the night before. The station is a short block from the apartment building where Bo’s life was taken. According to Bo’s mother, the Southside Flats were chosen as his residence because of its proximity to the station.
Local grassroots organization Mothers Against Police Brutality called the vigil. John Fullinwider, co-founder and organizer, led the event, which featured faith leaders from different houses of worship, including Botham’s home church, as well as attorney Lee Merritt, representing the Jean family. Black Lives Matter activists from Houston were also present, as were Brown Berets and the North Texas Dream Team. PSL organizers also stood in solidarity with Botham Shem Jean’s community and the people of Dallas.
Attorney Lee Merritt mentioned the shooting and subsequent death of 24-year-old O’shae Terry, which took place during a traffic stop in Arlington, Texas, on Sept. 2. Merritt and the Terry family are calling for the Arlington officer to be fired and charged for his crime. The Arlington Police Department has not yet determined if the shooting was justified – the family and the people know it was not.
No preferential treatment for murderous cops!
Nearly 200 activists gathered again on Sept. 10 at DPD headquarters to demand justice for Botham. Several community members spoke to the confusing details surrounding the case, focusing on the preferential treatment Amber Guyger has been shown in the days following her crime. A march from the headquarters to the Southside Flats followed the speak-out. Police watched from horseback, aerial drone, and armored vehicles as demonstrators chanted: “No justice, no peace! No racist police!”
The message from Dallas community members and organizers is clear: no preferential treatment for murderous cops. Amber Guyger enjoyed the safety of her own home, where she was booked, and never saw the inside of a jail cell before her $300,000 bail was posted. The investigation has changed hands from the DPD itself to the Texas Rangers, a statewide law enforcement agency similarly rooted in racism as police departments around the United States.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns the actions of the Dallas Police Department and the Texas Rangers in the wake of this heinous crime. No one outside of law enforcement would have been allowed to walk free following a murder. The people demand justice – for Botham, for O’shae, and for all the people murdered by police in Dallas-Ft. Worth.