On Wednesday, October 3, Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean.
Jean, a Black man, was alone in his own apartment last year when Guyger, a police officer, tried to open his front door, thinking it was her own.
When Jean went to the door, Guyger shot him in the chest, allegedly thinking he had broken into her apartment.
BREAKING: Amber Guyger, a Dallas police officer, sentenced to 10 years in prison for the murder of Botham Jean, an… https://t.co/KSH9Cmrqub— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1570050358.0
The state had asked the jury to sentence Amber Guyger to a minimum of 28 years – the age of Botham Jean would be if… https://t.co/R5OUADFIgS— Shannon Watts (@Shannon Watts) 1570050771.0
Jean's death caused an uproar around the country.
Guyger's actions were, in most people's opinions, criminally negligent and influenced by racial bias. After her sentencing, however, Jeans' brother offered a gesture of healing by forgiving Guyger and asking the judge if he could hug her.
In his victim impact statement, Botham’s brother Brandt offered forgiveness, citing his Christian faith. He then as… https://t.co/oiR0JLEPGS— NPR (@NPR) 1570057766.0
See victim's brother hug convicted ex-cop Amber Guyger; youtu.be
Speaking to the judge, who was visibly moved by his testimony, Jean's brother Brandt said:
"I love you as a person, and I don't wish anything bad on you...I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug please?"
What a moment in the courtroom, just now. Botham Jean's brother Brandt took the opportunity to forgive Amber Guyger… https://t.co/y8SkDytf4C— Mike Leslie (@Mike Leslie) 1570053280.0
Botham Jean's brother asks if he can hug Amber Guyger. She breaks down crying. https://t.co/hq4c9GGEEo— Allison Harris (@Allison Harris) 1570051953.0
Brandt's act of forgiveness has sparked a thoughtful debate on Twitter.
On one side, many people were touched by the brother's humanity and heart.
Some extraordinary humanity on display in Dallas courtroom after Amber Guyger sentenced to 10 years on murder convi… https://t.co/xC2KTYpqtr— Ed Werder (@Ed Werder) 1570053780.0
What a contrast. We went from protests outside the courtroom, people yelling, "no justice, no peace," calling for p… https://t.co/qJuborYSmp— Allison Harris (@Allison Harris) 1570052209.0
Well this brought me to tears just now. The power of forgiveness. Such strength and courage shown by Botham Jean's… https://t.co/pj27m353v6— Preston Phillips (@Preston Phillips) 1570053806.0
On the other side, however, many people felt the media's obsession with forgiveness spoke to a continued avoidance of confronting racial injustice in the United States.
Botham's brother's statement is incredibly powerful... But she can give her life to Christ TUHDAY and live the rest… https://t.co/ghCah1srSe— Natasha Rothwell (@Natasha Rothwell) 1570053927.0
I respect forgiveness. But Botham Jean’s brother just further bailed Amber Guyger out after the judicial system alr… https://t.co/14Ef2aVD2h— Frederick Joseph (@Frederick Joseph) 1570055154.0
I can't get over the grace Brandt Jean showed in this moment. “I think giving your life to Christ would be the be… https://t.co/CCBOEOknWI— Dana Branham (@Dana Branham) 1570052597.0
Everyone agreed that Brandt had done something truly beautiful by offering his brother's killer forgiveness, but the world's fixation on that moment, rather than the systemic problems that produced this situation, is, at best, unhelpful for minorities.
I’m also not gonna judge Botham Jeans brother for hugging that killer. That’s between him, her, and whomever he mak… https://t.co/Y7Ovvj1gP8— George M Johnson (@George M Johnson) 1570055624.0
Maybe don't retweet that picture of Jean's brother hugging Guyger? Because we know that's what the media will lead… https://t.co/EWepbkhX9q— April (@April) 1570052819.0
Don’t ever forgive my murderer— Eric Haywood (@Eric Haywood) 1570053248.0
Twitter user @BreeNewsome offered an excellent breakdown of how media consistently frames stories such as this one around a subtly White perspective.
The white gaze fixation with Black people forgiving racial violence--from court cases to many Hollywood movie plots… https://t.co/VcgqY1ufg1— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass) 1570062712.0
The focus of concern is the white person who committed violence and their redemption. The Black person who forgives… https://t.co/yRxq8rX5JZ— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass) 1570062962.0
This is the plot of myriad Hollywood films and it reflects the white gaze lens of racism. Even when the topic is vi… https://t.co/x70gEnAiwE— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass) 1570063455.0
Generations--400 years--of developing a system that dehumanizes people based on skin color & that popularizes racis… https://t.co/mioxS6q1gP— Bree Newsome Bass (@Bree Newsome Bass) 1570064131.0
Though 10 years is a long time, many couldn't help but notice it wasn't as long as similar crimes committed by Black men.
The Central Park Five, who were innocent of the crimes they were accused of, spent more time in jail than Guyger will.
For perspective...Amber Guyger will do less time than the Central Park Five.— Mega Ran (@Mega Ran) 1570055196.0
After the trial, Botham Jean's mother made it clear there's still a lot of work to be done to stop racial injustice in the future.
Botham Jean’s brother’s request to hug Amber Guyger and Judge Kemp’s gift of her bible to Amber represent a spirit… https://t.co/cMX6lw3vlo— Dallas Police Dept (@Dallas Police Dept) 1570057646.0
Framing the compassion extended toward Amber Guyger as a teachable moment reminded me of @TheAtlantic column I wrot… https://t.co/MQu3872lT6— Jemele Hill (@Jemele Hill) 1570057583.0
#BothamJean's mother, Allison, addresses the media after a jury sentences Amber Guyger to 10 years in prison. Watch… https://t.co/ombFsg07J3— NBC DFW (@NBC DFW) 1570055537.0
#BREAKING: #BothamJean’s mother blasts @DallasPD after #AmberGuyger’s sentence: “That ten years in prison is for re… https://t.co/HMoCF4WU97— Jason Whitely (@Jason Whitely) 1570054607.0
The best way to honor this family's superhuman forgiveness is to speak out for their cause and help ensure nothing like this ever happens again.
Botham Jean’s mother possesses a grace I do not have. My heart breaks for her loss.— G O L D I E. (@G O L D I E.) 1570054538.0
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