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Botham Jean — And How Black Men Shot By the Police Are Dehumanized After Death

September 15, 2018 in Blogs

By Rachel Leah, Salon

A search warrant says police found a small amount of marijuana – a detail that many see as completely irrelevant

Attorneys representing the family of Botham Jean, the black man who was killed by an off-duty Dallas police officer in his own apartment, claim authorities are trying to discredit the victim.

Jean was shot dead on Sept. 6 by officer Amber Guyger, who claims she mistook his apartment for her own, which is located one floor below, and thought he was a burglar. Guyger was charged with manslaughter and has been released on a $300,000 bond.

A police affidavit released Thursday — the same day of Jean's funeral — shows that police seized relevant items to the case, like two fired cartridge casings, a laptop and a backpack with police equipment and paperwork, according NBC Dallas-Fort Worth, but also 10.4 grams of marijuana and a marijuana grinder.

Lee Merritt, who represents the family, criticized the search warrant, saying it shows that investigators were looking for drug paraphernalia in the hours following Jean's death. “They immediately began looking to smear him,” Merritt told the Associated Press.

“This adds absolutely nothing of value for solving this crime. And, for it to be released this day, I don’t believe in coincidences,” Merritt told NBC DFW. “This was an intent to come after this young man’s character, which is impeccable by the way.”

The search warrant does not say to whom the marijuana belongs, which amounts to less than half of an ounce. According to Benjamin Crump, another attorney representing Jean's family, the discovery is ”completely irrelevant,” he told NBC DFW. Crump cautioned that any efforts to distract from Jean's death, is “nothing but a disgusting attempt to assassinate his character now that they have assassinated his person.”

Subsequently, the local affiliate Fox 4 News reported on the newly-released affidavit with the headline: “Search warrant: Marijuana found in Botham Jean's apartment after deadly shooting.” While the headline has since been changed people slammed the outlet as irresponsible and disgraceful for highlighting a detail that has no bearing on the facts of Jean's death across social media.

Former NAACP President Cornell Brooks described the headline …read more


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