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Police Are Using Pot to 'Smear' a Dead Man, Say Botham Jean Family Attorneys

After one of their own killed him, Dallas Police searched Jean's apartment for marijuana.

Botham Shem Jean/FacebookBotham Shem Jean/Facebook

The day after an off-duty police officer shot Botham Jean in his own home, Dallas Police obtained a warrant to search Jean's apartment for "narcotics." The results of the search were revealed yesterday: Investigators reportedly found a small amount of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia. Now lawyers for Jean's family are accusing police of trying to smear a dead man.

Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who lived in the unit directly below Jean's, returned to her apartment complex after work last Thursday night. She says she mistook his apartment for her home, encountered Jean, and eventually shot him. Guyger has since been placed on administrative leave and charged with manslaughter; Jean died at a local hospital.

A warrant signed by 292nd District Court Judge Brandon Birmingham says police intended to search Jean's apartment for "any contraband, such as narcotics," that could "constitut[e] evidence of a criminal offense." Yesterday, KDFW reported that the things police found included 10.4 grams (about 0.37 ounces) of marijuana and a marijuana grinder.

It's not clear whose weed it was, but a civil rights attorney representing Jean's family says the department's motives to search for "narcotics" were all too clear. "It's telling that in a homicide investigation they went looking for drug paraphernalia," the attorney, Lee Merritt, tells The Washington Post. "There could only be one purpose for that. The only purpose is to look for information to smear the dead. That is exactly their specific intent."

Benjamin Crump, who's also representing the Jean family, agrees. The discovery of pot in Jean's home is "completely irrelevant," he points out to KXAS. Dragging it into the discussion, he says, is "nothing but a disgusting attempt to assassinate his character now that they have assassinated his person."

Several people on Twitter expressed similar sentiments:

Whether Jean smoked marijuana is indeed irrelevant. Put aside the fact that smoking weed is a victimless crime. Guyger entered his home with no probable cause. Assuming she's telling the truth—that she mistook his apartment for her own—whatever illegal activity Jean may or may not have been engaged in simply doesn't justify his death.

Photo Credit: Botham Shem Jean/Facebook

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    Yeah, that's fucked up.

    That cop is a murderer. Nothing the dead guy did can mitigate that fact.

  • SQRLSY One||

    Dallas police were hoping to find, not just pot, but also possibly a cheap plastic flute in the dead guy's house, that Dead Guy did NOT have a prescription for! That will retroactively justify the cop-lady having killed him!

    For those of you who don't want to be killed by Government Almighty, and then have your killing be retroactively justified, I would remind you to NOT blow on a cheap plastic flute w/o a doctor's permission!!!

    For more details, see http://www.churchofsqrls.com/DONT_DO_THIS/ , for EXACT details of what to NOT do!!!

    This has been a pubic service of and by the Church of SQRLS....

  • Eddy||

    Either the cop is telling the truth about entering the apartment by mistake - in which case the situation was very bad, and had nothing to do with marijuana - or else the cop is lying, which would mean she's covering up something that's even *worse* than going into the wrong apartment and killing the resident - and in that case, too, I don't see how marijuana would make the situation any better for her.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Evidently witnesses heard her beating on his door about some personal relationship type stuff.

    Possibly a woman cop scorned.

  • ||

    Possibly a woman cop scorned.

    #MeToo survivors
    #HimToo victims suspects.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Civilian test: Can I walk into Amber Guyger's living room, bark commands at her and when she doesn't immediately comply shoot her in the face, then look for contraband?

  • Longtobefree||

    Sure you can. But do it quick, because her cop buddies will show up and kill you and your dog.

  • Eddy||

    Again - if a "civilian" came to someone else's apartment thinking it was his own, then shot dead the person who lived there, this would have been trumpeted as an example of America's toxic gun culture and how only trained police officers should carry guns.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Boom.

  • DiegoF||

    LOL, good luck getting any practical political traction out of this angle. This business about playing civilian gun rights against cop privilege may seem like the most reasonable and straightforward thing to do; but it does not work in the good old USA, because all our allies on guns are cop boot lickers who consider that to be a core part of their political cultural identity, whereas most of our enemies like to imagine that they are not cop boot lickers because they make just enough token woke gestures to convince themselves of that fact. (Token woke gestures has become their primary class shibboleth.)

  • Dillinger||

    >>>Dallas Police obtained a warrant to search Jean's apartment

    death by Amber = probable cause for warrant wtf?

  • Restoras||

    I wouldn't be surprised if the killer cop knew the guy smoked weed, and passed that information along the proper internal channels to get that absurd warrant.

  • Dillinger||

    likely.

  • Cy||

    Who the fuck signed the warrant?

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Our hidden oppressors

  • Dillinger||

    word.

  • ceanf||

    It wasn't signed. It was rubber stamped.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    292nd District Court Brandon Birmingham.

    I'd love to see the affidavit that articulates the probable cause. What crime? What things to be seized? IANAL, but it seems to me that such a warrant is outside the subject matter jurisdiction of this particular case.

  • Necron 99||

    Dying without a permit.

  • Fuck you, Shikha (Nunya)||

    Sure wish I lived in Dallas county still. Would've loved to help get that guy evicted.

  • Tamfang||

    There was a report of gunfire in his apartment. That's pretty damn suspicious.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    The Minneapolis PD did the same thing to Justine Damond a white legal immigrant from Australia.

    Justine Damond called 911 to report a woman being assaulted in the alley behind her house. A squad arrives with two officers. Justine approached the driver's side door of the squad to talk to the officers and the officer in the passenger seat shot her through the driver's door.

    Then in the hours after the shooting, they searched Justine Damond's house for drugs.

  • Rossami||

    Probable cause for the warrant was actual evidence about the shooting.

    Probably cause for inserting the line about narcotics into a warrant about this particular shooting?
    - A charitable interpretation is that they used a boilerplate template for the warrant and just left that line in. That is unacceptably lazy and should be cause to sanction the judge who approved it.
    - The uncharitable interpretation is the deliberate smear campaign hypothesis above - which should also be cause to sanction the judge who approved the warrant.

  • Just Say'n||

    Remember kids, if you murder someone make sure to do it with a badge and then smear your victim so that people think their death is no big deal.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Worked for the SS (aplogies for Godwining so early, but FFS, how many examples are required before we agree we're in a police state?).

  • perlchpr||

    Sometimes, despite all the recent evidence from the Left, it actually is appropriate to analogize with the Nazis.

  • Roger the Shrubber||

    If the police and city government want to maintain any shred of credibility they will have to let this one play out the way it should, without any attempt to whitewash or protect the officer.

    The question is if their credibility means anything to them.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The question is if their credibility means anything to them.

    There's not much question about that.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Yeah, they have a monopoly on the legal use of force, qualified immunity, and a union to protect them. Credibility is no doubt close to the bottom of their list of concerns.

  • Ron||

    When those in power loose credibility people no longer see a need to abide by laws and this credibility gap is not limited to just police but all the way to all politicians of late.

    This is how you loose a country, race may be a justified claim in this instance but I think this woman would have shot anyone

  • The whole population of earth||

    Lose. Not loose. Lose.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Too many Os dude. Try again.

  • Ron||

    the cops are putting on a national show of just how cooked they have become. its discusting what they are doing to protect their own.

  • Restoras||

    Indeed, and they wonder why no one trusts them anymore. At this point I trust Congress more than cops.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    I assume a judge had to sign off on the warrant. I think a long hard look at those runner stamping for the boys in blue is overdue.

  • The whole population of earth||

    Disgusting. Not discusting. Disgusting.

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    Spell check would catch that one. Try again.

  • Enjoy Every Sandwich||

    Well, apparently the guy didn't have a dog they could shoot. So they had to come up with some other extra punishment.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I guess next time she kills someone she'll go with the tried and true "I smelled marijuana and went to investigate. A large, pot addled black man (who was listening to jazz music, natch) then made a furtive movement while holding something in his hand which I mistook for a gun. At that point I feared for my life and 'shots were fired.' End of story."

    The sad thing is, if she had gone with that excuse, she'd probably already be back on the streets and nothing else would happen. No paid administrative leave vacation, no manslaughter charges, nothing.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Did they immediately pull blood from the officer at the scene of the shooting, and what were the results of that blood test?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    If Jean's lawyers haven't asked that question yet, they're fucking fired.

  • croaker||

    His lawyers asked, and was told to stop smearing police officers.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    A press release from the cops said they did. Somehow they think people will believe it.

  • Shirley Knott||

    AIUI, the blood draw was 4 days after the event.
    Fat lot of good that's going to do. Which is, of course, the intent.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I'm looking for the Union thug lurking in the backgrou...oh, there he is!

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    There was a case in Indianapolis a couple of years ago where a cop responding to a call ran over a couple of motorcyclists stopped in the left turn lane, killing one, permanently injuring another. He showed no outward signs of intoxication to anyone at the scene (all were questioned later), but by department policy was required to have a blood draw at one of several specified locations. He was instead taken to a location that was not on the list of "acceptable" blood drawers, found to be several times the legal limit. His lawyers, of course, tried to get the evidence suppressed. A certain high ranking officer (major, I believe), a boyhood friend of friends of mine, testified that the officers taking their brother-in-blue suspect knew that such location was unapproved, he had their signatures on the training report, and inferred that this was intentional to avoid incriminating the drunk officer.

    The judge had the good sense to admit the evidence (defense tried interlocutory appeal and lost) and the drunk cop is now a couple of years into an eight year sentence.

    THESE RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT.

  • perlchpr||

    THESE RESULTS ARE NOT INDICATIVE OF WHAT YOU SHOULD EXPECT.

    No shit. That's amazing.

  • Jerryskids||

    Obviously the perp here was hopped up on the marijuanas and that scrambled his brains to the point where he was unresponsive to the officer's reasonable commands, at which point the officer, justifiably fearing for her life, had no alternative but to allow her weapon to be discharged in such a manner as to strike the suspect in such a way as to cause a non-trivial amount of bodily harm. Had the criminal simply obeyed the law and not consumed the dangerous and illegal narcotics, he would not have victimized this fine officer by forcing her to make a split-second decision which may very well leave her traumatized for the rest of her life.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    You copy/ pasted from a comment on PoliceOne, didn't you?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    They self-parody so well, why not?

  • croaker||

    How could he? Only vetted cops can even read comments on Police One.

  • Longtobefree||

    "marijuana paraphernalia"

    Does this still include staplers and zip lock baggies and matches?

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Hoodies, Bob Marley CDs, handcrafted ashtrays...

  • BYODB||

    This ploy isn't going to work here in Dallas. For one thing, possession of that amount is a ticket offense in Dallas proper last I checked.


    Manslaughter might the be correct charge in this case, but at the moment it could easy break towards murder.


    Either way, the facts of this case in particular are absurd. This officer should, at the bare minimum, never have a badge or gun again and needs some time in jail. She clearly has terrible judgment, and it seems the department does too now that they're trying to find some sort of justification for their trigger happy rookie.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Women don't have terrible judgement. It's clearly a patriarchy plot against her.

  • Lester224||

    If you think being a woman is going to keep fellow cops from trying to make the charges go away you are wrong, wrong. Cops try to mask their own screw-ups regardless of the gender of the cop.

  • The whole population of earth||

    From what I know about cops, being a woman will hurt her more than help.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Let's play the alternate headline game:

    "Officer walks into wrong home and kills residents."

    "After killing residents of home, police find stash of illegal drugs."

  • Calidissident||

    Question: If Botham Jean had a gun and shot the intruder in self-defense, would he still be alive, or would Dallas PD have executed him and used the weed to argue that he killed her when she came in to arrest him after she smelled weed?

    This might be a bit hyperbolic, but I honestly am not entirely sure.

    And at this point, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if the weed belonged to the cop, and that she had just gotten high and that's why she was so out of it. And then once she realized she fucked up, she of course had to ditch the weed and plant it on the victim.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    This might be a bit hyperbolic, but I honestly am not entirely sure.

    Actually, I think that's a perfectly reasonable question to ask at this point. It's a counterfactual, so impossible to answer, but reasonable to wonder about based on the actions of many, many cops.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    The system worked, sorta. Far too rare but thanks for the link.

  • John C. Randolph||

    Getting murdered by Barney Fife in drag isn't probable cause to search the victim's home. Who's the asshole that requested this warrant, and who's the sleazy motherfucking shyster who issued it?

    -jcr

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    The system, maaan.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    It is a crime scene; don't they always search crime scenes? I mean, without a thorough investigation, you just don't know what really happened. How else would they know what to cover up without an investigation? The cop sounds like a pretty miserable liar, they got to be real thorough now to make up for that.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    According to the cops, it's not a crime scene so...

  • Zeb||

    They did charge her with manslaughter, no?

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    I just remembered... it's an unfortunate, tragic incident scene.

  • Tamfang||

    An unfortunate, tragic isolated incident scene.

  • Cy||

    What Judge in their right mind signs a search warrant for a dead man that was clearly the victim?

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    Hey, that police officer is innocent until proven guilty

  • Gaear Grimsrud||

    And the judge as well.

  • MatthewSlyfield||

    The Minneapolis PD did the same thing to Justine Damond a white woman.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    292nd District Court Judge Brandon Birmingham. It's in the article.

  • Eddy||

    When the *best-case scenario* for the shooter is "I thought it was my apartment, man, and I was totally freaked when I saw some other dude standing there," then I would think it's the *shooter* you might want to check for drugs, booze, etc.

  • Idle Hands||

    I would hope that Dallas PD originally executed the search warrant to look for evidence of a preexisting relationship between the victim and the perp. During said search they found marijuana and some asshole cop leaked this to try to smear the victim for their buddy. This is what I hope happened, because if the Cops went in specifically to find something and smear the victim that would be unconscionably awful. Wood chipper awful.

  • Idle Hands||

    After reading the warrant it appears it was wood chipper awful. Fuck these people.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Where did you find a copy of the warrant?

  • JBSparks||

    Great. As if the false narrative that blacks are at a disadvantage needed more feeding. Leave it to our public servants to cover their backside at all cost.

  • Sometimes a Great Notion||

    Devil's advocate literally

    They could be going after her because she supplied him the weed, he didn't pay and she killed him for it; which would change the charge to 2nd or 1st degree murder.

    Not that I believe that but thought it should be pointed out.

  • AlgerHiss||

    The sadistic, psychotic cowardice of American copping know no bounds.

    You will trust these people at your peril, ESPECIALLY if you've done nothing wrong.

  • chipper me timbers||

    Never forget, required reading:

    James Duane - you have the right to remain innocent

    it woudln't have helped this guy but it's a good primer on how to avoid letting the corrupt cops destroy your life.

  • JoeJoetheIdiotCircusBoy||

    seriously, why the hell did the judge even sign a warrant? What is the point? I have not read a single thing stating that the cop entered the apartment for any reason related to suspicious activity of the victim.

  • Necron 99||

    Assassinate the character of the man murdered by one of their own. SOP for criminal cops, circle the wagons and hide behind the thin blue line. No word on what was found in the murdering officers apartment, or what her blood test revealed was in her system when she killed a man for being in his own apartment.

  • Agammamon||

    Given that there has been no search of the suspect's apartment 'for evidence of a crime' - which is what the general warrant for this guy's place basically said - then, yeah, I can only assume its a smear campaign.

    The fact remains that they could have found child-porn, a film studio, and a couple kids in cages doesn't change the fact that the cop murdered the guy.

  • Anti-Fasciitis||

    Why did they even need a warrant? Unless they're planning on charging the dead tenant with a crime, they can search as much as they please with no consequences.

  • JulesE||

    What's the difference between this and all the SWAT teams that "accidentally have the wrong address"?

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