Dallas chief wants review of police tactics at protest

This photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office shows Amber Renee Guyger. Guyger, a Dallas police officer, was arrested Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018, on a murder warrant in the shooting of a black man in his house, Texas authorities said. The Texas Department of Public Safety said in a press release that Guyger was booked into the Kaufman County Jail and the investigation is ongoing. It said that no additional information is available at this time. (Kaufman County Sheriff’s Office via AP)

DALLAS – Dallas chief of police said that they called for a full review and plans to meet with protest leaders after learning about the messages that the police used pepper-spray projectiles at a demonstration about a black man’s death.

Chief U. Renee Hall said in a statement Tuesday that the projectiles, which are called pepper balls, and usually include the chemical substance in pepper spray, should only be used if there is a direct threat to the public or as a scene commander calls for them to be used. The projectiles irritation of the nose and the eyes.

Hall said that she wants to meet with protest leaders to “address their concerns.”

Monday’s demonstration came a day after a white Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, was arrested for manslaughter in off-duty shooting death of her neighbor, 26-year-old Botham Jean. The authorities have said, ” Guyger said they mistook Jean’s apartment for her own when they fatally shot him last week. She was released on bond.

Protesters gathered outside Dallas police headquarters, and several dozen blocked traffic as they walked about a half mile. At a given moment the police used pepper-spray projectiles to help control the crowd, according to news reports.

Jean grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Lucia to attend college in Arkansas. He is a graduate of Harding University in 2016 and worked for accounting firm PwC.

Lawyers of Jean’s family have criticized the director’s account of the shooting, says that the contradicted statements of the neighbors.

The officer’s description of what happened was contained in an arrest affidavit prepared by a Texas Ranger, and released Monday, shortly after the prosecutor announced that the case would be presented to a grand jury, that can decide on the more serious charges than manslaughter.

Benjamin Crump, a lawyer for Jean’s family, said Monday that the statement “very self-serving.” Lee Merritt, who also represents the family, calling it an attempt to “condone what happened, give her a break.”

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police, told the researchers that she had just ended a 15-hour Thursday, when she returned in uniform to the South Apartments apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, in place of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.

When she put her key in the door of the apartment, which was unlocked and ajar, opened it, the affidavit said. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette on the other side of the room, according to the officer’s account.

The officer told the police that she locked her apartment was broken into and gave verbal commands to the figure, which she ignored. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.

She called 911 and, when asked where she was, back to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit. The authorities have not released the 911 tapes.

The Dallas County medical examiner’s office said Jean died of a gunshot wound in the chest. His death was ruled a homicide.

Merritt said Monday that two independent witnesses have told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting. He said a witness reported hearing the voice of a woman saying, “Let me in! Let me in!” When they heard gunshots, after which a witness said she heard a man’s voice say, “Oh my God! Why did you do that?”

Merritt said he believes that was Jean’s last words.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson stressed that her office was conducting its own probe, in addition to the investigation of the Texas Rangers. They have the option of the presentation of the more serious charge for the grand jury.

It is not clear whether Guyger has a lawyer.

Guyger’s blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, according to Hall, but the authorities have not released results.


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