A Dallas police officer has been sentenced to 10 years in prison for killing her black neighbour in his apartment, which she claimed she mistakenly thought was her own.
A jury on Tuesday found Amber Guyger guilty of of murder over the September 2018 killing of Botham Jean.
Guyger’s sentence was met with boos and jeers by a crowd gathered outside the courtroom. “It’s a slap in the face,” one woman said.
The trial had heard that Guyger, returning from a long shift that night, entered Jean’s fourth-floor apartment and shot him.
Guyger said she parked on the wrong floor and thought Jean’s apartment was her own, directly below, and that he was an intruder.
Her lawyers argued that the identical physical appearance of the apartment complex from floor to floor frequently led to tenants going to the wrong apartments.
But prosecutors questioned how Guyger could have missed numerous signs that she was in the wrong place.
They also asked why she didn’t call for backup instead of walking into the apartment if she thought she was being burglarised and suggested she was distracted by sexually explicit phone messages she had been exchanging with her police partner, who was also her lover.
The shooting drew widespread attention because of the circumstances and because it was one in a string of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers.
One of the Jean family lawyers hailed the verdict as “a victory for black people in America” after it was handed down on Tuesday.
The jury was largely made up of women and people of colour.