A previous federal court ruling that dismissed all civil claims against the City of Dallas in the murder of Botham Jean by ex-Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger has been reversed.
Chief Judge Barbara Lynn of the Northern District of Texas reversed the previous ruling, which denied a federal civil rights lawsuit against the City of Dallas to proceed once an amended lawsuit has been filed, according to CBS 11.
Jean’s family filed a civil rights lawsuit against the City of Dallas and Guyger a month-and-a-half after Botham was shot and killed in his own home on September 6, 2018. The family is also suing the housing complex, South Side Flats, for $1 million, claiming Jean’s door to his apartment didn’t close properly due to poor maintenance.
Guyger was found guilty of murder on October 2, 2019 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime.
Lee Merritt, the family’s attorney, said in a statement to CBS 11 that he believes the new reversal allows the family to proceed to seek justice for Botham.
“After numerous objections, responses and appeals regarding this decision, the Court reversed its determination and indicated that the claims against the City of Dallas should proceed once an amended lawsuit is filed,” the statement reads, in part. “This important decision will allow the family of Botham Jean an opportunity to once again try and hold the City of Dallas accountable for its failures in training officers on appropriate use of force.”
Guyger was convicted in Botham’s death, and her lawyers have appealed, seeking an acquittal or that she be charged with the lesser crime of criminally negligent homicide.
Guyger entered Jean’s apartment and shot him to death while he was eating ice cream on his couch. During her trial, she testified that she thought she had entered her own apartment in the complex where they both lived, and therefore “had the right to act in deadly force.”