The trial of Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who killed Botham Jean in his own apartment, has ended in a ten-year conviction. Yet, the troubling story isn’t over now that one key witness was gunned down and another threatened and harassed.
The murder of witness Joshua Brown has raised the ire of Black activists who already felt the trial was compromised by police proximity and power. His death appears to have confirmed those suspicions for many.
The Dallas Police Department says that it has identified suspects in the killing of Brown, who was an important witness for the prosecution. Many don’t trust those findings. In fact, initial reports of his killing were also met with Black skepticism surrounding the timing and circumstances.
Since Brown gave emotional testimony as a neighbor of Botham Jean, people worried that his life may have been in danger. Now, his murder presents one troubling question that people are waiting to see if time will answer: was his execution retaliation by police or white supremacists?
Another witness, who captured the video of Guyger after the fatal shooting, also faced disturbing consequences. “Bunny,” as she prefers to be called, received various death threats, was fired from her job, and labeled a Black “extremist” when her identity was leaked to the public.
In an interview, Bunny questioned the validity of the narrative put forth by Guyger about what happened that night. Though she wasn’t at liberty to reveal extensive details, what she did express was doubt about how anyone could kill someone in the wrong apartment on accident.
Now that Brown is dead, concerns have been raised about her safety.
The entire case has raised issues around trust and suspicion between the Black community and the police, especially since Botham Jean was indeed murdered by a police officer in his own home. Though Guyger has made claims that she mistook Jean’s apartment for her own, it doesn’t take away from the reality that “Black people are more than twice as likely to be killed by the police than white people.”
For now, concerns remain that the police are retaliating against witnesses and that racist vigilantes may be seeking revenge. Brown’s murder has even led activists and experts to call for an independent and objective authority to investigate; with numerous people suspecting police involvement, their investigative efforts are not trusted in determining the truth about this tragedy.
The Guyger case may have ended, but the ongoing problems it’s exposed certainly have not.