Monday 6 July, 2020

Botham Jean’s Lawyers: “Six months too long to wait for justice”

Exactly six months after Saint Lucian Botham Jean was killed in his apartment in Dallas, Texas by a female police officer, attorneys representing his estate and his family say they are not satisfied with the pace at which the case is proceeding, but admitted that compared to other cases, this one is “proceeding fairly quickly”.

“I can’t say I am satisfied with the rate this thing is proceeding, six months is too long to wait for justice,” Lee Merritt said at a press conference yesterday at the Windjammer Hotel.

Merritt, Daryl Washington and Benjamin Crump are in Saint Lucia trying to whip up support for Botham Jean by urging the government, prime minister and Saint Lucians to get involved in seeing that the right justice is handed out in Jean’s case.

They want the government, including the prime minister to engage the United States government and say “our citizen was killed in your country in an unbelievable way and we are looking to you all to make sure that justice is done.”

“With Saint Lucia and Dallas both demanding justice the Texas governor should be asking to meet with the family of Botham Jean. Saint Lucia, we petition you all to do your role to get justice for Botham Jean as well,” Crump said, adding that everyone should have an interest in the case.

The trio is representing Jean’s estate in a federal litigation case to hold the city of Dallas accountable for his death and the police officer who shot him, Amber Guyger accountable for her actions. Guyger has since been indicted for murder and will be tried hopefully this summer, according to the attorneys, although a date for the trial has yet to be publicised.

“We do expect the judge will let the case precede relatively quickly as possible,” Merritt said, further stating that they don’t anticipate a delay.

The three-man team believes that the Dallas prosecutorial office has the competency and manpower to get a conviction in the case but warns that a conviction of a law enforcement officer anywhere in the united states is a difficult thing.

“So, it will take our continued investment, our prayers, our talents, continued investment from the media, from the community and an all-out effort to secure what is, in fact, a very, very rare outcome, which is a conviction of a police officer. We believe it will happen but it would take much more than the norm in order for this to happen,” Merritt said.

Washington said the civil matter is proceeding at the same time with the criminal case and that maybe today or tomorrow Guyger would have to file an answer to the civil lawsuit.

“So, we are proceeding. They have not filed a motion to stay the case. In fact, the city is vigorously defending Amber Guyger at this point. We have done extensive briefing on behalf of the family and we are very confident that we will proceed forthwith,” Washington said.

“We’re going to do whatever we need to do to make sure that whatever happened to Botham never happens to anyone else. It is senseless and police officers should be held accountable. One of the most frustrating things for us is to see how Amber Guyger is parading around the courthouse as if she is upset about being there. She doesn’t feel the frustration the family is feeling, she doesn’t feel the pain the family is feeling. They are trying to portray her as an innocent person and that just cannot happen. It is now time that we focus on this police officer and her actions,” Washington said.

The attorneys are pursuing the violation of Botham’s civil rights as well as the family claims that Botham was wrongfully killed. They are going after civil damages on behalf of Botham’s family and his estate.

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