Botham Jean was tragically shot while in his own apartment by an off-duty Dallas police officer who has since been arrested for the fatal mishap. Since the incident, community members have become increasingly outraged at the officer’s preferential treatment after the shooting and the media’s outlandish claims about Jean possessing drugs in his home.
The attorney for the family of Botham Jean alongside Frederick Haynes, a pastor of Friendship West Baptist church, decided to coordinate a demonstration in protest of the killing. The duo led caskets down Randol Mill Road in a mock funeral procession. Police reportedly warned the protesters to vacate the scene when they began blocking gates outside of the AT&T Stadium in Arlington. Later, the group locked arms together, but they were again warned to disperse.
After being warned a third time, police decided to begin arresting the demonstrators. At least nine suspects were taken into custody. The nine individuals were initially booked into the Arlington City Jail, but they were later transported to Tarrant County Jail. Each protester was charged with a Class B misdemeanor for blocking a pathway. The crime carries potential penalties including six months of jail time and a $2,000 fine.
Many of the protesters spent more than 24 hours detained in jail. This fact led to even more outrage because the demonstrators were all detained much longer than the police officer suspected of manslaughter. Guyger, the off-duty officer, was only in jail for a total of one hour before being released. Some are arguing that the police could have opted to charge the protesters with a lowered Class C misdemeanor that would have allowed them to be cited and released. Now, demonstrators are calling for the officer to be fired and charged with murder. They have claimed they, “will continue indefinitely in the city of Dallas and Arlington until justice is served.”