Attorneys for family criticize affidavit in Dallas shooting

DALLAS (AP) — Attorneys for the family of a black man who was shot and killed by a white Dallas police officer who says she mistook his apartment for hers are criticizing an affidavit that gives a narrative of what happened.

The lawyers said the arrest affidavit released Monday contradicts neighbors' accounts. Amid their concerns, though, the district attorney said the case against Amber Guyger will get a hard look by her office and be presented to a grand jury, which could decide on more serious charges than manslaughter in last week's shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean.

Benjamin Crump, one of the attorneys for Jean's family, said the affidavit "is very self-serving." And Lee Merritt, who is also representing the family, called it an attempt to "condone what happened, give her a break."

The document, prepared by a Texas Ranger, appeared to be based almost entirely on Guyger's account.

Guyger, a four-year veteran of the police force, told investigators that she had just ended a 15-hour shift Thursday when she returned in uniform to the South Side Flats apartment complex. She parked on the fourth floor, instead of the third, where she lived, according to the affidavit, possibly suggesting that she was confused or disoriented.

When she put her key in the apartment door, which was unlocked and slightly ajar, it opened, the affidavit said. Inside, the lights were off, and she saw a figure in the darkness that cast a large silhouette across the room, according to the officer's account.

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Former Dallas officer Amber Guyger accused of killing her neighbor, Botham Jean
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Former Dallas officer Amber Guyger accused of killing her neighbor, Botham Jean
FILE - This file photo provided by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office shows Amber Guyger. A grand jury began hearing evidence Monday, Nov. 26, 2018, in the case of Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who fatally shot her unarmed black neighbor in his own apartment after she said she mistook it for hers on Sept. 6, 2018. (Kaufman County (Texas) Sheriff's Office via AP, File)
This March 24, 2014, photo provided by Harding University in Searcy, Ark., shows Botham Jean, speaking at the university. Authorities said Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, that a Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed Jean, a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (Jeff Montgmery/Harding University via AP)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
This photo from video released Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office in Kaufman, Texas, shows Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger getting booked after turning herself in Sunday, Sept. 9 following the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in his own apartment. Guyger was arrested manslaughter and has since been released on bond. (Kaufman County Sheriff's Office Jail via AP)
South Side Flats apartments are shown in this Monday, Sept. 10 2018 photo in Dallas. Authorities say a Dallas police officer said she shot a neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered last week after he ignored her "verbal commands." David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday that Officer Amber Guyger said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean and went into the hallway to check the address. Guyger was booked Sunday on a manslaughter charge in Thursday night's killing of Jean and was released on bond.(AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
Brandt Jean, center left, brother of shooting victim Botham Jean, hugs his sister Allisa Charles-Findley, during a news conference outside the Frank Crowley Courts Building on Monday, Sept. 10, 2018, in Dallas, about the shooting of Botham Jean by Dallas police officer Amber Guyger on Thursday. He was joined by his mother, Allison Jean, left, and attorney Benjamin Crump, right. (AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
A resident holds up an electronic key used to open an apartment door at the South Side Flats in this Monday, Sept. 10 2018 photo in Dallas. Authorities say a Dallas police officer said she shot a neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered last week after he ignored her "verbal commands." David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday that Officer Amber Guyger said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean and went into the hallway to check the address. Guyger was booked Sunday on a manslaughter charge in Thursday night's killing of Jean and was released on bond.(AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
People stand near Botham Jean's apartment in this Monday, Sept. 10 2018 photo in Dallas. Authorities say a Dallas police officer said she shot a neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered last week after he ignored her "verbal commands." David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday that Officer Amber Guyger said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot 26-year-old Jean and went into the hallway to check the address. Guyger was booked Sunday on a manslaughter charge in Thursday night's killing of Jean and was released on bond.(AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
This photo from video released Thursday, Sept. 13, 2018, by the Kaufman County Sheriff's Office in Kaufman, Texas, shows Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger getting booked after turning herself in Sunday, Sept. 9 following the fatal shooting of Botham Jean in his own apartment. Guyger was arrested manslaughter and has since been released on bond. (Kaufman County Sheriff's Office Jail via AP)
A Dallas Police vehicle is parked near the South Side Flats apartments on Monday, Sept. 10 2018 photo in Dallas. Authorities say a Dallas police officer said she shot a neighbor whose home she mistakenly entered last week after he ignored her "verbal commands." David Armstrong of the Texas Rangers wrote in an arrest affidavit released Monday that Officer Amber Guyger said she didn't realize she was in the wrong apartment until after she shot 26-year-old Botham Jean and went into the hallway to check the address. Guyger was booked Sunday on a manslaughter charge in Thursday night's killing of Jean and was released on bond.(AP Photo/Ryan Tarinelli)
South Side Flats is shown in this Friday, Sept. 7, 2018 photo. A Dallas police officer returning home from work shot and killed a neighbor after she said she mistook his apartment for her own, authorities said Friday. The officer called dispatch to report that she had shot the man Thursday night, police said. She told responding officers that she believed the victim's apartment was her own when she entered it. (Vernon Bryant/The Dallas Morning News via AP)
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The officer told police that she concluded her apartment was being burglarized and gave verbal commands to the figure, which ignored them. She then drew her weapon and fired twice, the affidavit said.

She called 911 and, when asked where she was, returned to the front door to see she was in the wrong unit, according to the affidavit. Authorities have not released the 911 tapes.

The Dallas County medical examiner's office said Jean died of a gunshot wound to the chest. His death was ruled a homicide. Guyger was arrested Sunday night and booked into jail in neighboring Kaufman County before being released on bond.

'Oh my God! Why did you do that?'

At a news conference Monday evening, Merritt said two independent witnesses have told him they heard knocking on the door in the hallway before the shooting.

He said one witness reported hearing a woman's voice saying, "Let me in! Let me in!" Then they heard gunshots, after which one witness said she heard a man's voice say, "Oh my God! Why did you do that?"

Merritt said he believes those were Jean's last words.

As for the contention that Jean left his front door ajar, Merritt said Jean was a "meticulous individual" who made it "a point to close the door behind him."

"He put everything in a particular place," Merritt said.

He said Jean had a red doormat outside his apartment door. "In fact, to ensure no one mistook his apartment the way this officer is claiming in this case, he went out and bought the biggest, brightest red rug and placed it right there at his doorstep," Merritt said.

Merritt has represented relatives of an unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot in the back by a white police officer in June while fleeing a traffic stop near Pittsburgh.

Crump is best known for representing the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown. Martin, 17, was fatally shot in 2012 in Florida by George Zimmerman, a Hispanic man who was a neighborhood watch captain. Brown, 18, was shot to death in 2014 by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.

"Black people in America have been killed by police in some of the most unbelievable manners," Crump said earlier Monday, citing "driving while black in our cars" and "walking while black in our neighborhoods."

Now, he said, "we are being killed living while black when we are in our apartments."

Protesters gathered at police headquarters Monday night in Dallas, The Dallas Morning News reported. Several dozen blocked traffic as they marched about half a mile from the headquarters. Police fired pepper balls to help control the crowd at one point.

Dallas County District Attorney Faith Johnson said the decision to allow Guyger to surrender somewhere other than Dallas County's jail was made by the Texas Rangers, who are also investigating. She emphasized, though, that her office is conducting its own probe.

"We are committed to making certain that we get to the bottom of (it)," Johnson said.

She will have the option of presenting more serious charges to the grand jury.

It wasn't immediately clear if Guyger has an attorney.

Guyger's blood was drawn at the scene to be tested for alcohol and drugs, Police Chief U. Renee Hall said, but authorities have not released results.

Jean wasn't the first person shot by Guyger

Jean grew up in the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia before attending college in Arkansas. He graduated in 2016 from Harding University, where he often led campus religious services as a student. He had worked for accounting firm PwC since graduating.

Jean wasn't the first person shot by Guyger. She shot a man named Uvaldo Perez on May 12, 2017, while on duty.

According to an affidavit filed against Perez, police were looking for a suspect when Guyger and another officer were called to assist a third officer. Perez got out of a car and became combative with Guyger and another officer. A struggle began and Guyger fired her Taser at Perez, who then wrested it away from her. She then drew her gun and fired, wounding Perez in the abdomen.

Sgt. Michael Mata, president of Dallas' largest police union, the Dallas Police Association, said Guyger was a respected officer who worked on a high-risk team tasked with arresting some of the most violent offenders. On the day of the shooting, Guyger's unit had arrested multiple suspects for armed robbery, he said.

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