A magistrate judge is recommending that the City of Dallas be removed from a wrongful death civil rights lawsuit filed by the family of Botham Jean.
According to documents filed in court, attorneys for Jean’s family say he was killed because of poor training by the Dallas Police Department, and that his death is only one of the latest in a pattern of DPD killings of unarmed individuals.
The magistrate judge is arguing that the case against the city be thrown out because there is no such similar pattern and that Amber Guyger, the former Dallas police officer who shot-and-killed Botham Jean in his apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, was off-duty at the time of the tragic incident.
"Although the cases cited...involved shootings of unarmed minority individuals...they are not 'fairly similar' to Jean's shooting...none of these cases involved an off-duty officer approaching what he or she believed to be a burglary taking place in his or her own home," the judge wrote as a part of the recommendation.
Jean’s family attorneys disagrees. “As we allege in our pleadings and as we have always argued, Amber Guyger was clearly on duty,” said lawyer Daryl K. Washington. “The great majority of the evidence, and the presentation by Amber Guyger’s side, was that she was a police officer and that she acted as a police officer would behave.”
Washington further cited other unarmed people of color killed by Dallas police in his objection, presenting at least seven other DPD shootings of unarmed individuals where the plaintiffs blamed lack of training as a major part of the cause.
However, the judge says Guyger’s case is not similar to any of those past cases: “Those shootings are distinguishable from [the Guyger-Jean] case and do not establish a pattern,” adding, “they are insufficient to show a custom or policy supporting municipal liability."
Now that Guyger’s criminal sentencing is over, the civil lawsuit against her and the City of Dallas will move forward, according to Fox4 News.
The magistrate’s recommendation is to bring a conclusion to a legal matter. It is ultimately up to the district judge to accept or reject the recommendation.
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