News Americas, BROOKLYN, NY, Fri. Sept. 7, 2018: A New York based Caribbean-American organization wants the police officer who killed a Caribbean immigrant in Dallas charged with murder and not manslaughter.
The Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy, (CGID), today, September 7th, made the call as they harshly condemned the killing of 26-year-old black St. Lucian national and Dallas, Texas resident, Botham Shem Jean.
Jean was shot and killed around 10 p.m. Thursday night, September 6, 2018 in his own home, by a White female Dallas police officer who has since been charged with manslaughter.
The officer reportedly told investigators that she returned home from her shift and entered the wrong apartment in her building.
But CGID President, Rickford Burke, said the officer’s negligent, reckless conduct and depraved indifference to human life resulted in murder and he urged Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson to prosecute the officer to the fullest extent of the law.
“The culture of policing that has emerged in black communities all across America is one where cops shoot to kill first, then ask questions after,” Burke said. “Police officers are killing black men while walking innocently on the streets, driving innocently in our cars and now while living innocently in our own home. This is too much for a people to bear. CGID therefore calls on the US Justice Department to review and revise the protocols for armed engagement by law enforcement in America.”
The CGID head says the group also intends to write to US Senators and Members of Congress from New York, to push for a national review and reform of protocols on how and when law enforcement officers engage in the use of force.
“This is long overdue. How many more black men must be killed before we take action?,” Burke questioned, adding that “politicians who sit by and do nothing about the epidemic of law enforcement murders of innocent black men are equally complicit in these killings and should be held to account.”
Dallas police department Friday issued a statement claiming that the officer called for help and told responding officers “she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own.”
The incident took place at South Side Flats, an upscale apartment complex located in downtown, Dallas, a few blocks from Police headquarters. Authorities have not said how the officer got into Jean’s home, or whether his door was open or unlocked. Residents of the complex said they can access their units with a key or through a keypad code.
Dallas Police said the officer was in full uniform and “fired her weapon striking the victim who was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead.”
Burke blasted the Dallas Police for not releasing details about how the officer got into Jean’s apartment. He also questioned how Jean’s name was released to the public when police simultaneously confirmed that the next of kin notification was not made.
Jean came to the US to study accounting at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He also studied at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, in Castries, St. Lucia before migrating to the US. At the time of his death, he worked in Dallas as a risk assurance associate for accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.
CGID also called on all Caribbean American organizations and nationals to condemn Jean’s killing and to support and express solidarity with his family.
Family and friends described Jean as a devout Christian and a talented singer. His uncle Ignatius Jean said the slaying left relatives looking for answers.
“You want to think it’s fiction … and you have to grapple with the reality,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall, told a news conference that “right now, there are more questions than we have answers.” Hall also said she spoke to Jean’s sister to express condolences to the family.
It was also unclear if the officer was in custody. Hall said she did not know the whereabouts of the officer, whose name was not released.