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Amber Guyger Joked About MLK’s Death, Said Black Cops Had ‘Different Way of Working,’ Texts Show


Prosecutors introduced text messages at a sentencing hearing on Tuesday showing that defendant and former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, joked about the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and also remarked that black cops have a “different way of working.”

Guyger was convicted Tuesday for murder in the death of neighbor Botham Shem Jean, 26. The defendant faces 5 to 99 years in prison. Her defense insisted at trial that this killing was an honest, reasonable mistake. Defendant and victim lived in the same apartment complex on different floors. Guyger said she mistook Jean’s apartment for hers after doing overtime at work. She said she believed he was an intruder, and that she shot him, fearing for her safety.

The jury sided with the state. Prosecutors had argued at trial that the defendant made a series of unreasonable errors in failing to realize she was at the wrong apartment until after she killed Jean.

At trial, her defense said she became an officer in order to help people. Guyger expressed remorse about the victim’s death.

“I hate that I have to live with this every single day of my life,” she said in testimony on Friday. “And I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day. I feel like I don’t deserve the chance to be with my family and friends.”

The state did not allege at trial that this was a hate crime, but the case landed right into a cultural fissure: the ongoing debate over how law enforcement treats people of color, especially black men. Jean was black. Guyger is white.

Allison Jean, the victim’s mother, testified Tuesday at the sentencing hearing, and discussed how her son’s death affected her.

“My life has not been the same,” she said. “It has just been like a roller coaster. I cannot sleep. I cannot eat. It’s just been the most terrible time for me. I almost am not able to work, but I just try to busy myself to get out of my head. But it has been very, very, very difficult.”

The state was trying to show jurors what kind of man Jean was. Those who knew him agree he was smart, gregarious, and caring.

[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]

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