Internal Investigation Prevents Termination of Amber Guyger At This Time

Following the arrest of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who is accused of manslaughter after fatally shooting her neighbor Botham Jean, Dallas Chief of Police U. Rene Hall was asked why Guyger hadn't been terminated.

At the time Hall said she wasn't able to fire Guyger. On Thursday, Hall elaborated on why that is, saying:

“There is one overriding reason that I have not taken any administrative or employment action against Officer Amber Guyger. I don’t want to interfere with the on-going criminal investigation into her actions. Here’s why. 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. That is not a risk I am willing to take. We cannot let the criminal case be determined on a ’technicality’ rather than the facts. An exhaustive and thorough criminal investigation is essential, and as soon as we are assured that conducting an administrative investigation will not impede on the criminal investigation, we will proceed.”

NBC 5 Law Enforcement Expert Don Peritz said after the shooting occurred two completely separate, but parallel, investigations began -- one administrative (Internal Affairs) and another that was criminal.

"They are separate investigations designed to protect the integrity of the criminal investigation and to protect the rights of everyone involved -- the suspect, the witnesses, the assigned investigators and the department," Peritz said.

Peritz added that Hall turned over the Dallas police portion of the criminal investigation to the Texas Rangers. At the same time, investigators with the Dallas County District Attorney Office launched their criminal investigation.

Investigations Breakdown
Administrative Investigations (Internal Affairs):

  • Involve interviews, between Internal Affairs Detectives and the accused officer.
  • This investigation is focused between the accused employee and the department.
  • Involves employee requirement to follow departmental policy to fully cooperate with investigators and answer all questions asked (compelled or forced to answer truthfully about what happened).
  • Involves Garrity protection for the accused officer against self-incrimination, because the accused is compelled to answer.
    • Information gained in the administrative investigation cannot be shared from the administrative side to the criminal investigation side, however, the criminal investigators can share information gained with the administrative side (Internal Affairs). (Garrity v New Jersey (1967)
  • Administrative investigations are directed toward employee misconduct, such as department policy or rules/regulations violations.

Criminal Investigations:

  • Involve interrogations between the criminal investigators assigned (in this case, now the Texas Rangers and Dallas County DA investigators and the suspect (Officer Amber Guyger)
  • Focused on violations of state law (Texas Penal Code)
  • The result of the criminal investigation is ultimately between the accused suspect (in this case the Officer Amber Guyger) a criminal prosecutor (the DA), and the court.
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