The family of a 26-year-old man who was fatally shot in his own apartment by a white cop has filed a lawsuit against the officer, the Dallas Police Department, and the city of Dallas.
PricewaterhouseCoopers associate Botham Shem Jean was shot to death on Sept 6. by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who claimed mistook the victim’s apartment for her own home and thought she’d encountered an intruder.
The lawsuit filed on Friday by Jean’s parents, Bertrum Jean and Allison Jean, claims that Guyger used excessive force and violated their son’s rights, according to Fort Worth Star-Telegram. It also accuses the Dallas Police Department of not properly training the former officer, who was charged with manslaughter three days after the victim perished.
“Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective DPD policy: to use deadly force even when there exist no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others,” legal documents state.
However, the lawsuit against the former cop could be placed on hold until after she makes her way through criminal proceedings.
Jean’s parents said they’re extremely upset with how Dallas officials have handled their son’s case and argue in the lawsuit that the police department could’ve even prevented his death.
“By simply following proper police procedures and the best police practices and not the protocol of the DPD to ‘shoot first and ask questions later’, Defendant Guyger would have not shot Jean,” the lawsuit reads. “Essentially, Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective DPD policy: to use deadly force even when there exist no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others.”
Legal documents also claim that Dallas police are known for using excessive force against minorities and people of color. “Including approaching them with guns drawn,” it adds. The suit does not name a requested amount in damages.
“They want accountability,” said attorney Lee Merritt, one of the lawyers representing the Jean family. “Part of the goal of civil lawsuits is for the monetary damages to make the defendants take steps to prevent this in the future.”
Varied and conflicting accounts of the sequence of events that led to the 26-year-old’s death have been offered. The lawsuit questions how Guyger, who was off duty at the time of the shooting, didn’t notice she was at the wrong apartment when she lived below Jean. He also had a red doormat in front of his door and Guyger did not.
Merritt said the victim’s parents aren’t experts on what adequate training should be, but said, “A man sitting in his home should not be killed.”