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Dallas police fire officer charged with fatally shooting neighbour in his apartment

Amber Guyger is accused of fatally shooting her black neighbour inside his own apartment.

Amber Renee Guyger
Amber Renee Guyger
Image: AP/PA Images

A WHITE POLICE officer accused of fatally shooting her black neighbour inside his own apartment was fired today for being arrested for manslaughter in the slaying, the Dallas Police Department has said.

Police Chief U Renee Hall dismissed Officer Amber Guyger during a hearing today, according to the statement posted on Twitter.

Guyger is charged with manslaughter in the 6 September shooting that left 26-year-old Botham Jean dead. Court records show Guyger said she thought she had encountered a burglar inside her own home. She turned herself in three days later and is currently out on bond.

“An Internal Affairs investigation concluded that on 9 September 2018, Officer Guyger #10702, engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter,” the statement said. It doesn’t explain what “adverse conduct” means.

Later, Dallas police spokesman Sergent Warren Mitchell said in a written response that adverse conduct is “conduct which adversely affects the morale or efficiency of the Department or which has a tendency to adversely affect, lower, destroy public respect and confidence in the Department or officer.” When an officer has been arrested for a crime, adverse conduct is often cited in the officer’s termination, he said.

Attorneys for Jean’s family, along with protesters, have been calling for Guyger, a four-year veteran of the force, to be fired since the shooting. The family’s attorneys released a statement saying they see the termination as an initial victory.

“However, we are committed to seeing through the next steps of the process of a proper murder indictment, conviction and appropriate sentencing,” the statement said.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson has said the case will be presented to a grand jury, which could decide a more serious charge than manslaughter.

Dallas Officer Mistaken Apartment Flowers placed at the front door apartment of Botham Jean Source: Shaban Athuman via PA Images

One of the family’s attorneys, Lee Merritt, said Jean was being buried today in St Lucia.

There are conflicting narratives over what led up to the shooting.

Guyger told investigators that she had just ended a shift when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex where she lived.

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

Guyger said she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the person, who ignored them. The affidavit said she then drew her weapon and fired twice.

She called 911. Asked where she was, she returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit. The 911 tapes have not been released.

But according to an affidavit for a search warrant Jean “confronted the officer at the door.”

Dallas Officer Mistaken Apartment This photo from video released by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office in Kaufman, Texas, shows Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger. Source: AP/PA Images

After the shooting, Guyger’s blood was drawn to be tested for alcohol and drugs, according to Hall. Authorities have not released results.

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said he agrees with the decision to fire Guyger.

“The swift termination of any officer who engages in misconduct that leads to the loss of innocent life is essential if the Dallas Police Department is to gain and maintain the public trust,” Rawlings said in a statement.

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