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COMMENTARY: Dallas Cop Amber Guyger Gets 10 Years for Murder of Botham Jean

NNPA NEWSWIRE — After deliberating her fate, a jury recommended a sentence of just 10 years in prison for Guyger’s assassination of her neighbor, Botham Jean. The judge upheld the sentencing recommendation. The 26-year old Jean was an accountant at the prestigious firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers at the time of his murder.

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Even after finding the defendant guilty after deliberating her fate for just three hours, the jury recommended a sentence of just 10 years in prison for Guyger’s September 2018 assassination of her neighbor, Botham Jean.

Guyer: ‘People are so ungrateful. No one ever thanks me for having the patience not to kill them.’

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

Many believe that former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger is a racist with a quick trigger finger. Her tweets and social media posts demonstrate a thirst for blood, and many observers believe that she represents white privilege at its most disgusting level.

Even after finding the defendant guilty after deliberating her fate for just three hours, the jury recommended a sentence of just 10 years in prison for Guyger’s September 2018 assassination of her neighbor, Botham Jean. The 26-year old Botham was an accountant at the prestigious firm of Price Waterhouse Coopers at the time of his murder. Judge Tammy Kemp upheld the sentencing recommendation.

Prosecutors sought at least 28 years.

“If you truly are sorry… I forgive you,” Brandt Jean, Botham’s 18-year old younger brother, told Guyger after the jury read her sentence.

“I think giving your life to Christ would be the best thing that Botham would want for you,” Brandt Jean said, before asking and receiving permission from the trial court judge to give Guyger a hug.

Unlike Brandt Jean, other family members weren’t so willing to offer Guyger forgiveness. At a press conference following the sentencing, Allison Jean, Botham’s mother, said, “My son’s life was much more valuable than ten years.” Then she shook her head and said, “but there’s nothing I can do about it.”

Later, during an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN, Allison Jean shared that she did not know that her son Brandt was going to make the statement that he made. “So, I was very shocked when he did that,” she said to Cooper.

During the live broadcast of the hearing, protestors outside the courtroom could be heard yelling, “No Justice, No Peace,” from within the courtroom itself.

Activist Dominique Alexander said the sentence was much too light and called for additional protests.

Jean family lawyers said they’ll need to consult with their clients to determine where to go from here, including whether or not to push for federal charges against Guyger because of the comparatively light sentence.

It was a little more than one year ago that Guyger entered Botham Jean’s apartment and shot him for no apparent reason other than he was sitting in his house while black.

During the sentencing hearing, a series of text messages sent and received by Guyger were displayed in court for the jury and the world to see.

The picture painted by her words in those messages was ugly and Klan-esque, particularly from someone who is supposed to protect and serve all citizens.

They were egregiously disrespectful to African Americans and all people of color.

During a Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade in Dallas in 2018, Guyger’s white supremacist-style attitude reared its ugly head.

“When does this end, lol,” read a text sent to Guyger purportedly from another officer on duty.

“When MLK is dead… oh, wait…” Guyger replied.

Later that year, Guyger received another text about the prospect of adopting a German Shepherd.

“Although she may be racist,” the individual texted to Guyger.

“It’s okay,” Guyger responded. “I’m the same. I hate everything and everyone but y’all.”

Prosecutors also showed jurors a text message exchange between Guyger and her partner and ex-lover Officer Martin Rivera.

The conversation took place six months before she shot Jean to death.

“Damn, I was at this area with five different black officers. Not racist but damn,” Rivera texted.

Guyger couldn’t resist in her reply: “Not racist but just have a different way of working, and it shows.”

If the text messages weren’t enough to show the kind of cop Guyger was, and what kind of person she is, Guyger’s Pinterest posts left little doubt.

She captioned one post of her with a military sniper weapon this way: “Stay low, go fast; kill first, die last; one shot, one kill; no luck, all skill.”

Another Pinterest post of Guyger’s reads: “I wear all black to remind you not to mess with me because I’m already dressed for your funeral.”

In that post, Guyger brandishes a gun, gloves, and a shovel. She wrote: “Yah I got meh a gun, a shovel, and gloves. If I were u back da f— up and get out of meh f—–g way.”

In still another post, Guyger wrote, “People are so ungrateful. No one ever thanks me for having the patience not to kill them.”

During the trial, Guyger said she was tired after working a long shift when she returned home on September 6, 2018.

She said she approached what she believed was her apartment and found the door partially ajar. Guyger said she saw a man inside the apartment and thought he was an intruder. She was still in uniform and shot Jean to death.

Because her unit is one floor below Jean’s, Guyger tried to explain that as the reason for the mix-up. For jurors, she couldn’t explain why she’d execute a man who was sitting on his couch, eating ice cream, and watching television.

Although she claimed to have yelled, “Let me see your hands,” neighbors testified that they never heard her utter such a command. The only sound they heard was the gunfire: Guyger shooting an unarmed man.

Guyger’s conviction and imprisonment appears part of a new trend where law enforcement officers are facing the music for crimes against unarmed individuals of color.

Earlier this year, Jason Van Dyke, a white former Chicago Police Officer, was convicted of second-degree murder in the October 2014 fatal shooting of Laquan McDonald, an unarmed black teenager.

Van Dyke, who shot Laquan 16 times, was sentenced to nearly seven years in prison.

Robert Bates, a white Tulsa County, Oklahoma volunteer sheriff’s deputy, was sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for second-degree manslaughter in the 2015 death of Eric Harris, 44, who was unarmed and restrained.

Peter Liang, a rookie police officer in New York City, was convicted of manslaughter in 2016 in the 2014 death of 28-year-old Akai Gurley.

Gurley, who is black, was walking down the steps of his apartment building when a startled Liang panicked and open fire.

A judge reduced the conviction to negligent homicide and sentenced Liang to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service.

Former Balch Springs, Texas, Police Officer Roy Oliver was convicted of murder in August in the 2017 death of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards and was sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Oliver, who is white, fired his weapon into a car packed with black teenagers, killing Edwards.

North Charleston, S.C., Officer Michael Slager pleaded guilty to federal civil rights charges after killing Walter Scott, a black man, in 2015.

Slager was sentenced to 20 years in prison in December 2017.

This week, jurors in Georgia began deliberating the case against former DeKalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen.

Olsen, who is white, is accused of killing Anthony Hill, a 26-year-old black man and military veteran who was unarmed and naked at the time of the shooting.

It took jurors less than a day before convicting Guyger who was taken into custody immediately following the verdict.

“For black people in America, this verdict is a huge victory,” said Lee Merritt, one of the attorney’s representing the Jean family.

“Few police officers ever face trial for shooting deaths, and even fewer are convicted,” Merritt stated.

He added that the verdict shows that justice is finally coming for the family of victims.

“Police officers are going to be held accountable for their actions, and we believe that will begin to change policing culture all over the world,” Merritt told reporters.

Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who also represents Jean’s family, said it was important to remember that there’s a list of unarmed African Americans who have been killed by police officers.

He said the verdict against Guyger was a welcome shift in the nation.

“For so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America, this verdict is for them,” Crump stated.

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Fighting an Unjust System, The Bail Project Helps People Get Out of Jail and Reunites Families

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

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Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.
Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

Hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily — many find it challenging to pay bail

By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
@StacyBrownMedia

As public support for criminal justice reform continues to build — and as the pandemic raises the stakes higher — advocates remain adamant that it’s more important than ever that the facts are straight, and everyone understands the bigger picture.

“The U.S. doesn’t have one ‘criminal justice system;’ instead, we have thousands of federal, state, local, and tribal systems,” Wendy Sawyer and Peter Wagner found in a study released by the nonprofit Prison Policy Initiative.

Together, these systems hold almost 2 million people in 1,566 state prisons, 102 federal prisons, 2,850 local jails, 1,510 juvenile correctional facilities, 186 immigration detention facilities, and 82 Indian country jails, as well as in military prisons, civil commitment centers, state psychiatric hospitals, and prisons in the U.S. territories,” the study authors said in a press release.

With hundreds of thousands of individuals locked up in jails almost daily, many find it challenging to pay bail.

Recognizing America’s ongoing mass incarceration problem and the difficulties families have in bailing out their loved ones, a new organization began in 2018 to offer some relief.

The Bail Project, a nationwide charitable fund for pretrial defendants, started with a vision of combating mass incarceration by disrupting the money bail system.

Adrienne Johnson, the regional director for The Bail Project, told NNPA’s Let It Be Known that the organization seeks to accomplish its mission one person at a time.

“We have a mission of doing exactly what we hope our criminal system would do: protect the presumption of innocence, reunite families, and challenge a system that we know can criminalize poverty,” Johnson stated.

“Our mission is to end cash bail and create a more just, equitable, and humane pretrial system,” she insisted.

Johnson said The Bronx Freedom Fund, at the time a new revolving bail fund that launched in New York, planted the seed for The Bail Project more than a decade ago.

“Because bail is returned at the end of a case, we can build a sustainable revolving fund where philanthropic dollars can be used several times per year, maximizing the impact of every contribution,” Johnson stated.

In addition to posting bail at no cost to the person or their family, The Bail Project works to connect its clients to social services and community resources based on an individual’s identified needs, including substance use treatment, mental health support, stable housing and employment.

Johnson noted that officials created cash bail to incentivize people to return to court.

Instead, she said, judges routinely set cash bail well beyond most people’s ability to afford it, resulting in thousands of legally innocent people incarcerated while they await court dates.

According to The Bail Project, Black Americans are disproportionately impacted by cash bail, and of all Black Americans in jail in the U.S., nearly half are from southern prisons.

“There is no way to do the work of advancing pretrial reform without addressing the harmful effects of cash bail in the South,” said Robin Steinberg, Founder, and CEO of The Bail Project.

“Cash bail fuels racial and economic disparities in our legal system, and we look forward to supporting the community in Greenville as we work to eliminate cash bail and put ourselves out of business.”

Since its launch, The Bail Project has stationed teams in more than 25 cities, posting bail for more than 18,000 people nationwide.

Johnson said the organization uses its national revolving bail fund, powered by individual donations, to pay bail.

The Bail Project has spent over $47 million on bail.

“When we post bail for a person, we post the full cash amount at court,” Johnson stated.

“Upon resolution of the case, the money returns to whoever posted. So, if I posted $5,000 to bail someone out, we then help the person get back to court and resolve the case,” she continued.

“The money then comes back to us, and we can use that money to help someone else. So, we recycle that.”

Johnson said eliminating cash bail and the need for bail funds remains the goal.

“It’s the just thing to do. It restores the presumption of innocence, and it restores families,” Johnson asserted.

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PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina

NNPA NEWSWIRE — U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association and other participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.
The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Administrator to honor legacy of environmental justice and civil rights at event in Warren County, site of protests that launched the movement 40 years ago

WASHINGTON (September 22, 2022) – On Saturday, September 24, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Michael S. Regan will travel to Warren County, North Carolina to deliver remarks on EPA’s environmental justice and civil rights priorities and the progress we’ve achieved since the first protest and march that launched the movement 40 years ago this week. Administrator Regan will make a significant announcement on President Biden’s commitment to elevate environmental justice and civil rights enforcement at EPA and across the federal government and ensure the work to support our most vulnerable communities continues for years to come.

Administrator Regan will be joined by significant figures from the civil rights and environmental justice movements, including participants from the original Warren County protests for the event.

Who:
EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan
Congressman G. K. Butterfield (NC-01)
Environmental Justice and Civil Rights Leaders
Warren County residents and community leaders
Additional stakeholders

What: Remarks on EPA environmental justice and civil rights priorities and honoring the legacy of the environmental justice and civil rights movement
When: Saturday, September 24, 2022,
Doors Open: 11:30 AM ET
Program: 12:45 PM ET
;
Where: Warren County Courthouse
109 S Main Street
Warrenton, NC 27589
Livestream: A livestream of this event will be available at epa.gov/live.

The post PRESS ROOM: EPA Administrator Regan to Join Leaders of Civil Rights, Environmental Justice Movement for Significant Announcement in Warren County, North Carolina first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane

Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …
The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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Join Al McFarlane (Host), Brenda Lyle-Gray (Co-Host) and Special Guest Co-Host Diana Hawkins, Executive Director for …

The post September 26 | Governance at the Local Level | The Conversation with Al McFarlane first appeared on BlackPressUSA.

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