The lawyer for the family of Botham Shem Jean,who was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer in his own apartment, says law officials are trying to discredit the victim by making public details of a search warrant conducted on his home.
Jean, 26, died on Sept. 6 after off-duty officer Amber Guyger walked into his apartment, allegedly thinking she was in hers (which is located one floor below) and shot him twice.
In the week since his death, Guyger’s messy story has changed multiple times, most likely to drum up support and sympathy from racist white folks. At first, she said Botham’s door was locked and she repeatedly tried to get in until he opened the door. Then she said his door was shut but unlocked. Now she says his door was never even shut and she gave Jean commands that he didn’t listen, The Associated Press reported.
Following the shooting death of Jean, multiple search warrants were executed at his apartment as part of the investigation, CBS News reports. Attorneys for Jean’s family are outraged that the document describing drug evidence became public on the same day of his funeral. They believe this was an attempt to discredit the victim. “They immediately began looking to smear him,” said attorney Lee Merritt.
“26 years without blemish and it took being murdered in his own home by a white Dallas police officer to make #BothemShemJean a criminal,” he wrote on Twitter.
One of the warrants listed several items found in Jean’s apartment, including a small amount of marijuana. Most of the items found during the search appear to belong to Guyger. The items seized include:
2 fired cartridge casings
1 laptop computer
1 black backpack with police equipment and paperwork
1 insulated lunch box
1 black ballistic vest with “police” markings
10.4 grams of marijuana in ziplock bags
1 metal marijuana grinder
2 RFID keys
2 used packages of medical aid
The document does not say where any of the items were located in the apartment or who they belong to.
“I think it’s unfortunate that law enforcement begin to immediately criminalize the victim — in this case, someone who was clearly was the victim that has absolutely no bearing on the fact that he was shot in his home,” said attorney Lee Merritt. “I would love to see more information coming out about the warrants executed on the home of the shooter who lived just below him. I haven’t seen any of those. And particularly for it to be on this day the day that we remember and celebrate him… to see the common assassination attempt on the victim that we often see in law enforcement involved shootings.”
“It doesn’t change the story,” said Daryl Washington, attorney for the Jean family. “She claimed that she went into a place she thought was her apartment. She didn’t claim she had gone somewhere because she thought there was some sort of criminal activity.”
“I know because of how he lived his life it won’t stain his reputation because he lived his life so virtuously,” Merritt added. “But it’s unfortunate law enforcement has taken this turn.”
Attorney Pete Schulte, who is not connected to the case, says the defense will likely bring it up in trial if the marijuana turns out to be his.
“I’m not saying Mr. Jean is a bad guy because he had some marijuana in his apartment,” Schulte said. “But it could help add some explanation to this crazy case. It just adds another layer of complexity.”
“This is nothing but a disgusting attempt to assassinate the character of a wonderful young man,” said Ben Crump, attorney for the Jean family.