Just this week, Amber Guyger, the Dallas police officer charged with the shooting death of Botham Jean in his own apartment, was fired from her position with the Dallas Police Department. We won’t know for some time exactly why Guyger was terminated, but details may come out during the trial. Right now, all the department is saying is Guyger had “engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested.”
Since the story of the shooting broke in early September, many have wondered about why Guyger was charged with manslaughter instead of murder and what will happen next. It’s impossible to say what will come out during the trial, but here are a few clarifications.
Definition of Manslaughter
Some have questioned the fairness of the manslaughter charge, arguing the charge should have been murder. According to the Texas Penal Code manslaughter occurs when someone “recklessly causes the death of an individual.” The argument against a manslaughter charge was that the officer was not behaving recklessly. Rather, she knew she was shooting with intent to kill when she did so.
The Charge Could Change
Being unaware of the details of the case, we cannot weigh the accuracy of the charge; however, it is worth noting that the charge could change. A grand jury will review the charges and decide whether there is probable cause for Guyger case to go to trial. The grand jury may find murder is a more appropriate charge. Upon a grand jury review, Guyger will either be indicted for manslaughter or murder. Or, a grand jury might find there is no probable cause in which event the case would not proceed to trial.
In the meantime, many “experts” have taken to their social media accounts to argue the finer points of what has occurred so far. For now, the truth is everyone is in a holding position until a grand jury convenes. A timeline for when that will occur is difficult to predict.