Brandt Jean Hugs Former Cop Who Killed His Brother
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting her neighbor, Botham Jean. After the sentencing, his brother offered his forgiveness with a hug.
Act of healing and forgiveness
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting Botham Jean in his own apartment. After the sentence was announced, Jean’s brother, Brandt, offered his forgiveness. People outside of the courtroom reacted angrily to the sentence given to Amber Guyger in the death of Botham Jean, believing it was too lenient. But Jean’s brother addressed her directly from the witness stand. Brandt Jean told Guyger that his brother would have wanted her to turn her life over to Christ, and that if she asks God for forgiveness, she will get it.
The judge said he could, and Brandt and Guyger stood up, met in front of the bench and embraced while Guyger cried. Judge Tammy Kemp also hugged Guyger before she was led from the courtroom. The shooting in September 2018 drew widespread attention because of the strange circumstances and because it was one in a string of shootings of unarmed black men by white police officers. Jurors could have sentenced the former officer to up to life in prison or as little as two years, but prosecutors asked them to send her to prison for 28 years, which is how old Botham Jean would have been if he were still alive.
She will be eligible for parole in five years, after serving half of her sentence. As video of the dramatic hearing circulated online, critics blasted the judge, saying her hug was inappropriate for the jurist overseeing the case. Dallas County District Attorney John Creuzot, a former trial judge, called Brandt Jean’s embrace of Guyger “an amazing act of healing and forgiveness that is rare in today's society … especially for many of our leaders.” The jury was largely made up of women and people of color.