Texas Judge Places Gag Order Over Amber Guyger Murder Trial

Texas State District Judge Tammy Kemp on Tuesday placed a gag order over the murder trial of Amber Guyger

  • Kemp made the decision after meeting with Guyger’s lawyers in his chambers

  • A grand jury indicted the former officer of murder for the September shooting of Botham Shem Jean

  • The gag order prevents the attorneys from publicly speaking about the case

On Tuesday, a Texas judge placed a gag order over the highly scrutinized murder trial of 30-year-old Amber Guyger for the September shooting of 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean.

Following a meeting with Dallas County prosecutor Jason Hermus and Guyger’s attorneys, Robert Rogers and Toby Shook, State District Judge Tammy Kemp issued the order that prevents attorneys from speaking publicly about the case.

Guyger was at the courthouse on Tuesday, but there were no court proceedings. The decision was made in Kemp’s chambers. Guyger was indicted for Jean’s death on November 30. Her initial charge was manslaughter but it was decided by a grand jury Guyger’s charge be upgraded to murder.

Manslaughter is deemed a reckless act while murder is an intended action. On the night of the shooting, Guyger meant to shoot Jean in his apartment. Guyger claims she thought Jean’s apartment was her apartment and that he was an intruder. In reality, Jean was shot in his apartment while watching football by himself and most likely preparing to go to bed.

Regardless of whom Guyger thought Jean was, she deliberately drew her service weapon and fatally shot Jean. Guyger had just got off her shift with the Dallas Police Department. She was off the clock but still in uniform when the shooting occurred.

Guyger was not arrested for several days after the shooting. DPD handed the case over to the Texas Rangers. The warrant issued for Guyger’s arrest was for manslaughter, even though a judge had stated what was being described sounded more like murder was the appropriate charge.

It took 18 days for Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall to fire Guyger from her job. Hall claimed a law would not allow her to terminate Guyger’s position. However, DPD general orders read that an officer can be fired and all disciplinary procedures can be circumvented to preserve the integrity of the department.

The Chief of Police may circumvent all formal disciplinary procedures to render an immediate decision when it deems it necessary to preserve the integrity of the department.

The gag order is the latest in a series of legal procedures that advocates claim show Guyger receiving special privileges because she was a cop. Each of Guyger’s bookings into jail appear to be planned out to get her out of jail as quickly and efficiently as possible. In an attempted victim smearing campaign, DPD released documents showing marijuana was found in Jean’s apartment. Nothing was released about Guyger’s apartment at that time. Guyger was also allowed to move from her apartment shortly after the shooting.

The shooting and the handling of the investigation by authorities has brought months of public demonstrations to the streets of Dallas. Despite Guyger’s treatment following the shooting, in general the public seems to overwhelmingly agree the shooting was wrong, regardless of being pro-police or against police.

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Meko Haze is an independent journalist by day... and an independent journalist by night.

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