‘Who Will Protect Her?’: Concerns Grow for Safety of Black Female Witness In Amber Guyger Murder Case After Key Witness Joshua Brown Was Shot Dead

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Concerns have resurfaced about the safety of a young woman who filmed the moments after a white ex-Dallas cop shot Black PwC associate Botham Jean following the death of another witness in the case.

Joshua Brown, a Black 28-year-old man, was shot to death Friday at his Dallas apartment complex 10 days after he testified Sept. 25 that he saw Amber Guyger on the phone in the hallway moments after she shot Jean.

Witnesses in Amber Guyger trial
Social media users worried ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger’s highly-publicized murder trial may have put those who testified in danger. Ronnie Babbs (left), who did not testify in the trial, reported she received death threats after uploading video of the aftermath of Guyger shooting Botham Jean, and trial witness Joshua Brown was shot and killed Friday. (Screenshots from Advise Media Network and Law & Crime Trial Network footage)

Although authorities haven’t confirmed many details surrounding Brown’s death, social media users worried Guyger’s highly publicized murder trial may have put those who testified in danger.

“Im not the conspiracy type, but an outside agency needs to investigate the @DallasPD for the murder of Joshua Brown,” marketing consultant Frederick Joseph tweeted Saturday.

“How did a educated black entrepreneur man get gunned down in an nonviolent apartment complex with no affiliation with gangs or drug trafficking. @[email protected]@DallasMayor ??? How? #Justice4JoshuaBrown,” the health and fitness page Black Girls Workout tweeted Saturday.

“#Justice4JoshuaBrown was first. She will be next if not placed in witness protection. But who will protect her? The police? She has no protection. I’m afraid for her life. My God. So easy, so covered in protection that they can scheme to snuff out young black lives like that,” Agape Love All Day tweeted Sunday.

Ronnie Babbs, who uses the name Bunny on social media, told the Advise Media Network in a videotaped interview in January that she had been receiving death threats and was fired from her job after she uploaded footage showing the aftermath of the Dallas cop shooting to social media. After going public with her account of the repercussions of her video upload, Babbs launched a GoFundMe drive for herself that has raised more than $60,000, with many donations pouring in anew since Brown was killed.

The woman said she hadn’t planned on uploading the video but changed her mind when she saw reports that contradicted what she taped.

Babbs said she began recording from a lower floor’s staircase railing about 60 seconds after hearing two gunshots and hearing a male voice say: “Oh my God. Why did you do that?”

“It was just a lot of crying, a lot of hysterics,” Babbs said. “She was just pacing back-and-forth for at least seven minutes, according to my video.”

Guyger told police repeatedly that she thought she was in her own apartment when she instead walked into Jean’s unit.

She was convicted Tuesday of murdering Jean, and she was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison.

Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall, a Black woman, confirmed Sunday that Brown was shot and killed in the 4600 block of Cedar Springs Road, which is about five miles from his former complex where he, Guyger and Jean lived.

Dallas police reported they arrived at Atera Apartments after receiving a shooting call around 10:35 p.m. When they arrived, several witnesses flagged officers down and directed them to the victim, police said.

Brown was “found lying on the ground in the apartment parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds to his lower body.”

“Dallas Fire-Rescue responded and transported the victim to an area hospital, where he died from his injuries,” police said. “Witnesses reported seeing a silver four-door sedan leaving the parking lot at a high rate of speed.” 

“There are no suspects or motives at this time,” Hall later said. “We are committed to solving this case and will work diligently to apprehend the individuals responsible for Brown’s death.”  

Attorney Lee Merritt, who is representing Jean’s family in a civil case, is also working with Brown’s family.

He said in a Facebook post Saturday “Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise.”

Merritt also tweeted that he spoke with Brown’s mother Saturday.

“She is devastated. We all are,” the attorney said. “Joshua Brown was key witness in the murder of Botham Jean that helped put Amber Guyger away. We need answers.”

Bill Perkins, an energy trader and friend of activist Shaun King, has offered a $100,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in Brown’s death, King said on Twitter Sunday.

“@MeritLaw is working directly with the family. @bp22 is providing the $100,000 reward,” King said. “And we won’t stop until we find who murdered Joshua and why. It was an execution.”

Brown, who lived directly across the hall from Jean at the South Side Flats apartments at the time of his death Sept. 6, 2018, testified in court that he met his neighbor the same day he was killed.

Amber Guyger and Botham Jean
At one point in the murder trial for ex-Dallas cop Amber Guyger, she was asked to demonstrate how she held the gun in shooting Black PwC associate Botham Jean Sept. 6, 2018. A jury convicted Guyger of murder Oct. 1. (Photos: NBC News screenshot, Harding University via @xdom718 on Twitter)

At the time, Brown was managing four Airbnb rental properties, he testified in court.

Police had knocked on both of the residents’ doors and they stepped outside of their apartments, Brown said.

“It was like they had a noise complaint. It was around like 2 p.m.,” Brown said. “Kind of odd ’cause it wasn’t no noise.”

Related: Judge in Amber Guyger Murder Trial Apologizes After Allowing Video of Cops Trying to Revive Botham Jean to Be Played in Court

He said he talked to Jean about the fact both the men were smoking weed and they assumed the smell had attracted police attention.  

That night, Brown left his apartment to watch a football game and returned home during the halftime show, Brown said.

It was just before 10 p.m. when he heard what sounded like two people meeting and two gunshots quickly following, Brown said.

He said he was in his apartment for about three minutes before he saw Guyger in the hallway through his peephole. She was talking on the phone, Brown said.

Then he was asked about Jean.

Brown said he had earlier heard his neighbor singing gospel music and Drake songs in the mornings.   

The witness’s voice started trembling, and he tucked his head in his shirt and sniffed.

Judge Kemp called a recess and appeared to be choking back tears as well when Brown left the courtroom. 

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