A Couple Of Thoughts …

You may remember the killing of a Black man, Botham Jean on September 6th, 2018, but in case you’ve forgotten, allow me to refresh your memory.

Mr. Jean, a college graduate and an accountant, was sitting in his living room on the 4th floor of his apartment building watching television and eating ice cream on that fateful evening.  Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was off duty and returning home from her shift.  Her apartment was one floor below Mr. Jean’s, on the third floor, but she somehow mistakenly went to the 4th floor and allegedly believed Mr. Jean’s apartment was her own.  She claims that his door was ajar, she assumed there was a burglar inside, and when she entered and saw him sitting there, she shot him dead.  When she called police, the dispatcher asked for her location, and she had to go look at the number on the door to see where she even was.  I don’t know about you folks, but if I walked into an apartment that wasn’t mine, I would immediately know I was in the wrong apartment!  And how many burglars are going to sit around in their shorts, watching television and eating ice cream???

When I first wrote about this murder shortly after it happened, I sensed that if Mr. Jean had been a white man, he would still be alive today.  Nothing I have read has changed my mind. A number of my readers also commented that there seemed to be some missing pieces, that there was likely more to the story than met the eye.

At any rate, it was several days before Guyger was arrested, and then she was only charged with manslaughter.  The charges were later upgraded to murder, and on November 30, 2018, Guyger was indicted on murder charges by a Dallas County grand jury.  The following year, on October 1st, 2019, Guyger was convicted on the charges of murder and sentenced to ten years in prison.   On August 7th, 2020, Guyger’s attorneys filed an appeal, alleging that insufficient evidence existed to convict her of murder. The appeal sought either an acquittal, or a reduction in charge to criminally negligent homicide with a new hearing for sentencing on the reduced charge.

This week on Thursday, August 5th, a panel of three state judges on the Texas appeals court upheld the murder conviction, denying her appeal.  She remains in prison and will become eligible for parole in 2024.  Sadly, Mr. Jean will not be eligible to have his life restored.  This is one of only two cases I am aware of in the past decade where a white police officer has been held fully accountable for the murder of an unarmed Black person, the other of course being the conviction of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.  It is good to see justice work, but there are so many more who need the long arm of the law to encircle them and carry them off to prison, such as officers Myles Cosgrove and Joshua Jaynes in Louisville, Kentucky, who shot and killed a Black woman, Breonna Taylor, while she slept in her own bed!

And since I’ve mentioned George Floyd and the conviction of Derek Chauvin, let me just touch on another topic that is disturbing me.  A coalition of news media outlets has asked the judge who oversaw the trial of Derek Chauvin to release the identities of jurors who convicted him in the death of George Floyd.  Attorneys for the coalition, which includes Fox ‘News’, the Associated Press, and even The Washington Post, is asking not only for the names of the jurors, which would be bad enough, but also for the juror profiles that would include such things as age, address, place of employment, etc.

Judge Peter Cahill had previously ordered the information sealed for the safety of the jurors.  Think about it … how many white supremacists were incensed by Chauvin’s conviction and sentencing to 22.5 years in prison?  How safe would you feel if you had been on that jury and one of these media outlets released your name to the public?

Attorney Leita Walker said the media and public have a right to information about a jury and said that that Chauvin’s trial is over “and there is no way that jurors’ fears of intimidation, harassment, or violence can unfairly impact their deliberations.” She also wrote that the coalition knows of no threat to any juror or prospective juror.  Well duh … did you think they would contact you and say “We plan to kill harass, intimidate, and kill the jurors, so give us their names”? She said the court’s desire to protect jurors from unwanted publicity or harassment are not grounds to keep their identities sealed under law, and that “much has changed” in the months since the jury rendered its verdict “and at this juncture, resistance to releasing their names appears based on little more than a desire to have them left alone.”

Make no mistake … I am all for freedom of the press, and transparency to the extent that it makes sense and is not endangering people.  However … jury duty is an important responsibility that ALL of us should take seriously, and most of us do.  We do not, however, undertake this responsibility in order to be harassed and intimidated, to feel that our lives are in danger.  Sorry, media, but this time you’re just plain wrong.

20 thoughts on “A Couple Of Thoughts …

  1. Thank you for reminding us of these crimes based on fear and racism now that things are quieter with Covid perhaps it’s time to truly address racism (and sexism for that matter which I see as a hugely large part of why so many women are murdered every year by breast cancer since the number one contributing factor is being female and 90% of all breast cancers are environmentally caused and black women have a 40% higher mortality rate than white women in the US.) it’s all tied together in the way we think. Let me also say that crazy woman from South Carolina is kept live in office to belittle the fact that women who truly deserve to be elected officials might run the risk of being hysterical like her so beware those women on the ballot look what could really happen. I honestly can’t believe all of the hate speech, all of the loud mouthed white supremacists pointing the flag at pools of blood and riding in pick ups at least here in Northern California nearly pushing people off the road and being harassed while driving for publicly supporting Harris/ Biden while the collective consciousness was enabled to forget crimes like this.

    I call it “look at the keys” journalism. Getting the baby to look over here so that thing can happen over there. It’s a solid case of look at the keys. I just hope there’s sense enough in our next generation of children to really make the cultural shifts. But this shit sure isn’t helping much. With freedom of speech doesn’t come freedom of murder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right … bigotry takes many forms, including misogyny, as you point out. Bigotry is, I fully believe, the reaction to fear. Fear of ‘other’, whether based on the colour of a person’s skin, a persons gender, religion, sexual orientation, or whatever. And it runs rampant in this country. I keep hoping that we will learn we are all in this world together and that superficial differences should not matter, but it seems to be a losing battle, doesn’t it? Sigh.

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  2. Reblogged this on We Hold These Truths To Be Self-Evident and commented:
    Thanks for this post. I heard that Guyer filed an appeal, but I did not know the appellate court’s decision. Thanks for informing us.

    Regarding the release of the personal and private information of jurors who convicted Chavin’, there is absolutely no logical reason for the court to unseal that information. If any juror wanted to talk to the media, they would have reached out to them already.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I totally 💯 agree with you Xenia. Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I had forgotten about this case. It worries me that the coverage by even the “liberal media” hasn’t picked up the volume. I only get the Nation once a week so that’s about all the news I can take lately. Or I’d be very very overwhelmed.

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  3. If Ms Guyger believed she had entered her own flat, then when the despatcher asked where she was, surely she would not be going to the door to check. She’d have given her own address. I was and still am angry about the sentence she received, which should have been served in an all black prison. Any black person convicted of murder would get life. I was and still am angry that no officers were charged and convicted in the case of Breonna Taylor. A coalition of Media Outlets eh, no doubt requested by the Proud Boys via Fox ‘News’ for an exercise in vengeance. Fox News would interview a Proud Boy with his face hidden and refused to name him or his whereabouts in the interest of justice and they can’t name their sources. They would scare people into never voting guilty again or of not doing jury service.
    Cwtch

    Liked by 2 people

    • Exactly! I suppose by that point she realized that she was NOT in her own apartment, perhaps by looking around at the furnishings, pictures on the wall, etc., and wasn’t at all sure just what apartment she was in. But really, if you make a mistake, is your first reaction to “shoot now and ask questions later”? I’m angry over it, too … she spends ten years in prison, with free food, free medical care, free clothing, and Mr. Botham Jean is still dead, for NO REASON at all! My hope is that Ms. Guyger’s sentence will go long past the time she leaves prison, that she will be unable to find employment, ostracized by friends and family, and live out the rest of her life in sheer misery. Good ’nuff for her.

      I can only imagine what will happen if the media coalition gets its way. You know that within a week, one or the other, likely Fox, will have leaked the names and addresses to the public and the Proud Boys or some white supremacist yahoo will start a campaign of terror against them. And they say this is the “land of the free …” For whom, I ask? Sigh. Beam me up, Scotty.

      Cwtch

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    • Absolutely!!! It’s hard enough to convince people that serving on a jury is a responsibility AND a privilege … if they have to fear for their peace of mind, their very lives, why would anybody ever want to do jury duty again? It’s so ridiculous! Long time no see, my friend! Where ya been? Hope all is well with you? ❤

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  4. Pingback: A Couple Of Thoughts … | Ned Hamson's Second Line View of the News

  5. Jill, juries need the utmost protection, respect and privacy, as there are too many zealots out in our midst. If they do not, then fewer folks will get out of jury duty. It may also mean fewer will register to vote, which is how I think the pools are drawn. Keith

    Liked by 4 people

    • I fully agree. Too many people are already reluctant to serve on juries, some because of the time constraints, some for other reasons. If these jurors’ personal information is made public, I honestly believe some in the white supremacist camp will go after them, and it will discourage potential future jurors even more. I keep thinking of the Sandy Hook family who has been forced to relocate repeatedly because they were made a public figure and Alex Jones led the conspiracy theorists right to their door. And yes, ultimately it could also discourage voting, which is how most jury pools are drawn.

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