Thursday marks the one year anniversary of a jury finding now-former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger guilty of the murder of Botham Jean. Guyger went to the wrong floor of her apartment and entered Jean’s apartment thinking it was her own. She shot and killed Jean thinking he was an intruder.
Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Now a year later, a group of North Texas lawmakers have announced a new police and criminal justice reform bill called the “Botham Jean Act" or “Bo’s Law.”
If passed, Bo’s Law would address police body and dash camera recordings and amend the state’s castle doctrine.
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Rep. Carl Sherman (D-Lancaster) explained Bo’s Law would clarify language in the Castle Doctrine so that it would not be used to allow someone to protect what the perceive or mistakenly think is their home.
“We believe that every person should continue to be allowed to protect their home from an attacker, but the castle doctrine should protect the victim, not the perpetrator,” state Rep. Nicole Collier (D-Fort Worth) said.
During her murder trial, Guyger’s defense asked the jury to consider that Guyger believed she was defending her home even though she was mistaken.
The proposal would also amend castle doctrine to include a duty to retreat if it’s possible to retreat safely, according to Collier.
Bo’s Law would also address body camera usage.
“Body cams, in Bo’s Law, must be turned on and cannot be turned off during the middle of an investigation,” Sharman said. “It protects the integrity of the men and women who wear the badge.”
Bo’s Law would add sanctions for anyone who turns off police or body camera recording devices during an investigation.
Testimony in Guyger’s trial revealed Dallas Police Association President Mike Mata asked another officer to turn off a camera inside a squad car at the scene of the shooting so Guyger and Mata could speak privately.
Mata said Guyger was going to take a call from her attorney and had the right to attorney-client privilege.
State Sen. Royce West (D-Dallas) said Bo’s Law would add a penalty for anyone who ended a police body camera or dash camera recording during an investigation under most circumstances.
The bill will be filed ahead of the start of the next legislative session in January.