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.
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.
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?"
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.
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.
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.
Twitter user @BreeNewsome offered an excellent breakdown of how media consistently frames stories such as this one around a subtly White perspective.
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.
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.
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.
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