The Dallas Police Department has fired Amber Guyger, the off-duty officer who shot and killed Botham Jean after apparently mistaking his apartment for her own. But questions still remain about both the timing and the reasoning behind the firing.
Guyger, who lived in the unit directly below Jean's, returned to her apartment complex after work earlier this month. She says she attempted to enter the wrong unit, encountered Jean, and eventually shot him. Jean died at a local hospital. Guyger was then placed on administrative leave and charged with manslaughter.
Today the Dallas police announced that Chief U. Reneé Hall has terminated Guyger. The reason, according to a department statement: An Internal Affairs investigation revealed Guyger "engaged in adverse conduct when she was arrested for Manslaughter."
It's not clear what "adverse conduct" the department means. Reached for comment by Reason, the police declined to elaborate.
What is clear is that Guyger turned herself in to the authorities nearly three days after she killed Jean. (Hall has said the arrest was delayed because the Texas Rangers, who took charge of the investigation, wanted more time.) She was booked and charged, then released within two hours after posting the $300,000 bond. She may end up spending much longer behind bars, as it's up to a grand jury to decide what charges she'll ultimately face.
Questions also remain regarding the timing of Guyger's dismissal. Hall said at a town hall on Tuesday that she couldn't fire Guyger due to "local, state, and federal laws" preventing her "from taking action." In a written statement on Thursday, Hall explained she didn't want to "compromise the criminal investigation" into the shooting. "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," Hall said.
But Hall seems to have cast aside this reasoning, opting to fire Guyger while the criminal investigation is still ongoing.
It's difficult to determine why Hall changed her tune, but one thing is certain: questions over her department's handling of the incident aren't going away. From the decision to search Jean's home for "narcotics" after the shooting to the fact that they waited nearly three days to arrest Guyger, the department has much to answer for.