The city of Dallas is refusing to release a recording of the 911 call Amber Guyger made the night she fatally shot her neighbor, Botham Jean, inside his apartment last month.
The Dallas Morning News requested the release of the tape this week but received a letter from an attorney for the city stating that the Dallas Police Dept. and Dallas County District Attorney’s office have asked Attorney General Ken Paxton to allow them to withhold it.
Assistant City Attorney Pavala Armstrong argued that releasing the tape might interfere with the investigation into the Sept. 6th shooting, where Guyger claimed she entered the wrong apartment and mistook Jean for a burglar. The ex-officer, who’d just finished a 15-hour shift, fired her gun at the large “silhouette” only to realize her mistake minutes later.
In the days following the shooting, a law enforcement officer told The Dallas Morning News that Guyger, 30, called 911 distraught and in tears.
“I thought it was my apartment,” she said repeatedly, and apologized to Jean, the official said. “I’m so sorry.”
Authorities rushed to the scene at the South Side Flats apartments, where they found Jean inside. The 26-year-old was transported to Baylor University Medical Center where he was pronounced dead.
Guyger turned herself into police three days after the shooting and was subsequently charged with manslaughter. She was later fired from the department Sept. 24.
On Tuesday, First Assistant DA Mike Snipe said the office was withholding information like the 911 tapes in hopes that it would cut back on pre-trial publicity, according to the paper. He added that the DA’s office wants to try Guyger’s case in Dallas without a judge having to move it elsewhere in the state because of jurors already familiar with the case.
Additionally, Assistant DA Ashley Fourt said the office is seeking to withhold the results of Jean’s autopsy. It’s reported that Dallas County used to regularly release autopsy reports, which are public record, however, the DA’s office is more frequently seeking permission to keep the documents private.
Among the other records the city refuses to release include Guyger’s personal file, her previous administrative leave with the department, police body and dash camera videos, files related to the shooting of another man in 2017, and other 911 calls from the night of Jean’s shooting.
The city cited a litany of reasons for wanting to keeping the records private, The Dallas Morning News reported, including that the release of some documents would represent “an unwanted invasion of personal privacy” and would be “highly intimate or embarrassing and of no legitimate concern to the public.”
Jean was an accountant with firm PricewaterhouseCoopers and lived in a fourth-floor apartment at the South Side Flats. Guyger was his immediate downstairs neighbor.
The St. Lucia native was buried in his home country on Sept. 24.