Botham Jean’s family is back in Dallas this weekend for the official dedication of ‘Botham Jean Boulevard,’ a stretch of Dallas that has been renamed in honor of the young accountant shot and killed in his own home by a police officer.
The Jean family will be back in North Texas in April when former officer Amber Guyger appears in court to appeal her prison sentence.
As you drive toward Dallas Police headquarters along Lamar Street near downtown Dallas, you will see a mural on the side of a store.
The painting depicts Botham Jean, with a halo above his head, straightening his red tie as he gazes up at a street sign bearing his name: Botham Jean Blvd.
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To his family, the mural and soon-to-be Botham Jean Boulevard are both ‘bittersweet’ honors.
“The good thing about it, is every single police officer has to say his name,” said Botham’s mother Allison Jean.
The family spoke with reporters on Friday morning and wanted to make it clear: They are separating Saturday’s dedication renaming a stretch of Lamar Street in front of DPD headquarters and Botham’s apartment, with their ‘exhausting’ fight for accountability in the 26-year-old’s death in September of 2018.
“Right now, I’m ready to fight. I can no longer be as peaceful and I try to rely on every scripture in the Bible, but enough is enough. I am tired of it,” she said. “We seek accountability and [Amber Guyger’s] 10 years is still not enough because there are many people who have to pay for my son’s death. And it’s time. It’s been two and a half years.”
Former DPD officer Amber Guyger is serving a 10-year prison sentence for killing Botham in his own apartment, thinking it was hers and that he was an intruder.
Guyger and her attorneys have filed an appeal, which will be heard in court on April 27.
Guyger claims she was entitled to use deadly force because she believed her life was in danger, according to court documents.
“She now wants to reduce that conviction to criminally negligent homicide? Tell me! If nothing else what is this,” exclaimed Jean.
If Guyger is successful in her appeal, her murder conviction would be changed to ‘criminally negligent homicide.’
This conviction could reduce her sentence or even lead to her release from prison on probation.
“It shows me that Amber Guyger has not been remorseful in killing Botham,” said the victim’s sister Alissa Findley.
In the meantime, the Jean family will head to Austin next week, hoping to bring new police and criminal justice reform.
A bill will be introduced by State Representative Carl O. Sherman, Sr., during the legislative session on Monday called the ‘Botham Jean Act.’
If passed, ‘Bo’s Law’ would add penalties for anyone turning off dash or body camera recordings during an investigation.
The bill would also clarify the so-called Castle Doctrine to prevent people from citing it cases in which they have entered another person's home and killed them.
During Guyger's trial, her defense argued the Castle Doctrine applied because Guyger believed was in her own home. The bill would amend the penal code to require a person be physically in their own residence, vehicle, place of business or employment when force was used in order to cite the Castle Doctrine.
“It’s not going to help Botham, though it’s in his name,” said his mother. “It will help another individual. Another human being.”
Botham Jean’s face and name are now a mark on the city of Dallas, and perhaps the state of Texas.
“This mural serves as a reminder to all that we are and your children are susceptible to the same fate as Botham,” said Botham’s father Bertram Jean.
The family's civil lawsuit against the City of Dallas is still pending.
The Dallas City Council approved renaming a stretch of Lamar Street in Jean’s honor in January.
Editor's note: This story has been revised to reflect that the proposed Bo's Law would not include a requirement to retreat.