As Dallas community members demand to know why Officer Amber Guyger has not been fired from the police department after fatally shooting Botham Jean, Police Chief Renee Hall says laws prevent her from taking disciplinary action.
During a town hall meeting on Tuesday night at Paul Quinn College, outraged community members asked Chief Hall why the Jean case was transferred to the Texas Rangers and why Guyger has yet to be terminated from the police department.
Hall told the Dallas community to be patient while a thorough investigation is conducted. The police chief told attendees, “I can’t do that because there are both local, state and federal laws that prohibit me from taking action. … There are civil service laws we have to adhere to.”
However, the DPD general orders allow Hall to fire Guyger, stating, “The Chief of Police may circumvent all formal disciplinary procedures to render an immediate decision when it deems it necessary to preserve the integrity of the department.”
Civil rights attorney Justin Moore, who attended the town hall meeting, told WFAA he was completely shocked by Hall’s remarks.
“I was completely mystified, and I really didn’t understand where it came from last night. It seemed like Chief Hall might not have been well informed on the law,” Moore said.
Hall also issued a statement on Thursday afternoon: “Here is one overriding reason that I have not taken any administrative or employment action against Officer Amber Guyger. I don’t want to interfere with the on-going criminal investigation into her actions. As an employer, DPD can compel Officer Guyger to provide a statement during a DPD administrative investigation and those statements given to DPD could potentially compromise the criminal investigation. That is not a risk I am willing to take.”
But contrary to Chief Hall’s assertions, any statement Guyger would make to the department during an administrative investigation is barred by law from being admitted as evidence against her in the criminal investigation.
Faith Johnson, the Dallas County district attorney, has said, “I am committed to getting to the truth. We will get to the truth, and the truth will be presented to the grand jury in this case.”
Guyger shot the 26-year-old Jean on Sept. 6 inside his apartment after she allegedly mistaken his home for hers.