Late in the day on September 6, 2018, an off-duty police officer named Amber Guyger murdered Botham Shem Jean in cold blood inside his South Side Flats apartment after eyewitnesses said they heard Guyger banging loudly on his door demanding that he open up. The apartment complex is located one mile away from the local Dallas police station near downtown.
Botham Jean was only 26 years old and by all accounts was a “model citizen.” I put that phrase in quotations because whether or not a man or woman is a model citizen shouldn’t determine the level of justice (or injustice) they receive. You could be hanging on the lowest rungs of society and you should receive the same justice as someone with more than you. Your job or religious strength shouldn’t grant you extra-judicial privileges. People bring that up to show to everyone that despite those qualities, Botham Jean was still executed for no apparent reason.
Guyger’s story has been all over the place and has changed more than once.
Early reporting from a local NBC affiliate claimed that a source within the Dallas PD said that Amber Guyger was “fighting with her key” attempting to open the wrong door that she thought was hers and that Botham Jean’s opening of the door “startled” her and caused her to pull out her gun and shoot him.
I want you to see what Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger is doing.
Her new story is that #BothamJean's door was unlocked & she yelled for him to put his hands up.
But look at her first story. The door was locked. She kept trying to unlock it. Put down items in her hands, etc. pic.twitter.com/aOvdk15O7g
— Shaun King (@shaunking) September 10, 2018
The Narrative Changes
That same local affiliate has now deleted the earlier version of events which appears to be an early official story the police were running with, before the latest narrative was deployed.
They’ve now repeated the official excuse that says the door was ajar and Amber Guyger simply walked in. The necessity for changing the narrative from that original story is clear because any rationally-thinking person would know that if they tried to get into a door with their key and it wasn’t working…then maybe they’re not in the right location. The earlier version would’ve put too much blame on the officer in question here. So they changed it.
It would also bring into question whether or not Amber Guyger was under-the-influence of alcohol or some other narcotic if she kept trying to open a door with her key and it wouldn’t open. During the new conference on Friday morning, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall announced that blood samples would be taken to test for drugs and/or alchohol. We all await to results of those samples, and confirmation that the blood samples were even taken when the police department said they would be.
The new narrative puts less blame on Guyger and attempts to make the murder of Botham Shem Jean look like an accident.
The Character Assassination of Botham Jean
Like clockwork, the character assassination of Botham Jean has recently kicked off with this latest drivel from a local Fox News affiliate. First of all, let’s acknowledge how troubling it is that the first search warrant issued in this case wasn’t for the killer, but was for the victim. Why was there a search warrant issued to search a man’s home who was murdered for no reason other than what amounts to an “oops my bad” explanation?
That’s IF one even buys the official story!
It’s clear the intention was to look for dirt on Botham Jean. Something that could be used against him in the court of public opinion to sully his reputation. Which is why people mention that he was a model citizen. It’s to throw off these psychological games the State likes to play to hide their wrongdoings.
Botham Jean’s family attorneys say police are trying to attack Jean’s character. Investigators found marijuana in Jean’s apartment, but they don’t identify who it belonged to or how it relates to the investigation at all. pic.twitter.com/ksrrBq9mVv
— HuffPost (@HuffPost) September 14, 2018
What they’re doing now is leaking to biased, pro-police state media like Fox News that Botham Jean had marijuana in his home the night he was murdered. They have not revealed why this is important information or how it pertains to the case.
We all know that this has been leaked purely with the intent to smear Jean’s name. It happens in many cases involving police killing black citizens. They will even lie to the public to create false narratives that are then spread among conservative circles online. This was done in the case involving the murder of Michael Brown when they tried to make the case (unfortunately successfully) that Brown was involved in a “strong-armed robbery” before being gunned down by Officer Darren Wilson. As if this somehow justified what was done to him. Of course we now know that Mike Brown was not involved in a robbery and that the items he “stole” were actually his to begin with.
Character assassinations are an aspect of psychological warfare and they’re used in many cases when the State wants to justify something they do. You see this play out on a mass scale when it comes time to justifying war abroad. The people living within a particular country are always vilified and demonized in the media to legitimize the bombs that are about to be dropped on top of them. It’s the same thing here, but on a local level.
It Has Happened Again in Kansas
It happened again.
Four cops with AR-15s broke down the door of a Black student in Topeka, Kansas, pulled him to the ground & held at gunpoint. They nearly killed an innocent man IN HIS OWN HOME WITHOUT A WARRANT b/c they thought he may have "fit the description."
— Together we rise 🙌🏾 (@Matsamon) September 14, 2018
It’s happened once again.
Another case of abuse of power in Topeka, Kansas where police forced themselves into a man’s home without a warrant. You do have a thing known as a No-Knock warrant where police have a warrant issued by a judge that allows entry into a home without the resident being made aware of their presence outside. These types of warrants are abused as well, and there have been cases of police entering the wrong homes and people being killed for no reason. The argument they use for this is to stop criminals from hiding/destroying evidence. Like I said though, there are more than a few examples of this warrant being abused and the police clearly not having accurate actionable intelligence gathered before kicking down the wrong door.
According to early reports however, the police officers in Topeka didn’t have a warrant…which is worse.
America’s Fascist Underbelly
I’ve long made the argument that state-sanctioned violence and pseudo-legal executions are representative of American fascism. It’s not just the murders themselves, but the character assassinations of the dead and subsequent denial of justice and transparency that comes afterward. It might not be so bad if it weren’t for the complicit corporate media apparatus in this country that never questions official narratives by the police.
Local news outlets have a very cozy relationship with local law enforcement. That much is clear.
There are many facets of fascism and you can find every one of them alive and well in America. Some of them overwhelmingly so. For instance, the obsession with crime and punishment. Traditional fascist states tend to be deeply authoritarian towards their own people, especially those deemed as “the others.” Another facet of fascism is the need of an enemy, someone you can rally the zealots around and blame the ills of society on. In America’s case, it’s the immigrants, the Muslims, and Black activists who stand up to white supremacy and racism in the country. Look at how Donald Trump has tried to use Colin Kaepernick’s protest of police brutality and state-sanctioned violence during the national anthem as a way to rally support from his base around nothing more than a cultural (see white) cause.
Make no mistake, police have been kicking down doors and entering homes unannounced for a very long time. This is how Fred Hampton was assassinated in 1969 by police attached to the States Attorney’s office. The ability to go in and murder someone is a weapon used by the State whenever they want to, it has been abused countless times in the past and yes, is an element of fascism. There might be selective situations where the cops might actually need to use a no-knock entry, but in many cases, it’s not necessary and is used as a show of force more than anything else.
Botham Shem Jean should be alive today. We will see how this case plays out, but there’s not a lengthy history of holding police accountable.