Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger faces a manslaughter charge after she fatally shot a 26-year-old Botham Shem Jean, whose apartment near downtown she apparently mistook for her own. If you have had questions about where the case is currently or the details involved – as well as how we've gone about reporting on it – my reporters and I would be happy to answer them for the next hour beginning at 10am CST! Responses from me will be signed "MW".

UPDATE: That's it for Mike today. Thank you for having us r/AMA! Feel free to follow us at u/dallasmorningnews where we will be posting updates as we continue to pursue details in this story. If there are other topics y'all are interested about having conversations about, let us know.

Proof: https://i.redd.it/ujce1x9xo9n11.jpg

Comments: 1701 • Responses: 29  • Date: 

Zer0Summoner968 karma

Why has the commentary on the police effort to smear the victim with this whole marijuana thing and the noise complaints been missing from every media outlet I've seen? You'd think it would be a bigger part of the news that they're already trying to set it up as a "he's no angel" story.

dallasmorningnews664 karma

Thanks for the question. Can't speak for every media outlet, but our coverage has addressed the community's concerns about the marijuana. Here's a piece that refers in the headline to charges of a smear campaign.

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/09/13/evidence-botham-jeans-home-supports-officer-amber-guygers-account-shot-across-room-officials-say

MW

RalesBlasband597 karma

Have you heard anything recently on the stage of the state grand jury proceedings and their time frame?

And have you heard anything from DOJ regarding a federal investigation?

Any time frame on results from Guyger's blood pull?

dallasmorningnews622 karma

These are good questions. The grand jury proceedings have begun, but they routinely take months. We haven't heard of a federal criminal investigation. We check every day for results of the blood tests on Guyger; results could come any day.

MW

Buddybudster527 karma

What does the marijuana have to do with anything? Honestly? She went into his home and shot him and then they find marijuana and....what? He smoked marijuana? And that gives her some reason to shoot him? I am very confused as to why the apartment was searched at all except for crime scene purposes and why the marijuana has anyhing to do with the case.

dallasmorningnews611 karma

Thanks for this question. First, understand that The Dallas Morning News never wrote a headline or tweet about marijuana and mentioned it only briefly in a story. Why did we mention it? It was listed as one of the things the cops found when they searched Mr. Jean's apartment. We mentioned it because we err on the side of giving rather than withholding information.

MW

boyerling3467 karma

I'm a teacher in DFW and have a current events class. Would you or a colleague be willing to be a guest speaker for my class? How could I best contact y'all?

dallasmorningnews500 karma

Hey! We love speaking to students. Can you send us a DM and we can get you connected to the right person?

— Hannah Wise, engagement editor

Anima6six6334 karma

Is it known if cops showed up to the crime scene before paramedics arrived or afterwards?

dallasmorningnews435 karma

We've reported that cops arrived first.

MW

dallasmorningnews294 karma

Good morning everybody, thanks for the questions you've sent so far about the Botham Jean case. I'll answer as many as I can.

MW

xampl9281 karma

Who did she call first, immediately afterwards?

dallasmorningnews457 karma

Police say she called 911 immediately afterward. We haven't seen a public record or heard a 911 that would confirm that. We don't know what other calls she might have made.

MW

chicago_bunny162 karma

Can't a 911 call be FOIA'ed?

dallasmorningnews389 karma

We have submitted a FOIA for phone calls. It is part of ongoing investigation, however, and they can withhold until it's complete.

Groovyaardvark148 karma

Related, but curious. If she was in full uniform and armed, I presumed she would have had her police radio with her which she could have used for police/medical assistance.

Did she not have a radio on her and thus called via phone?

dallasmorningnews199 karma

Excellent question. We don't know whether she was wearing her radio or whether it was on.

MW

omnicidial223 karma

Has anyone pressed the police for an answer as to why they came out in a press release and said that the murderer had entered the apartment completely and the door was ajar, but in the search warrant it says that she was confronted in the doorway and never entered?

Is there some reason the media avoids addressing when the police lie?

dallasmorningnews143 karma

This is one of the most often-asked questions about this case because of the seeming difference in the accounts of what happened. We are not in a position to know why the accounts seem to be different. We do know that the first one was written before investigators spoke to Guyger, and the second one after they interviewed her. Here's some of what we've written about this. MW https://www.dallasnews.com/news/crime/2018/09/13/evidence-botham-jeans-home-supports-officer-amber-guygers-account-shot-across-room-officials-say

Iamien215 karma

Are there any key visual differences between the victim and the suspect's floors beyond unit numbers? Different welcome mats, paint color, carpet, etc....

dallasmorningnews387 karma

The key difference is that Mr. Jean's apartment had a red welcome mat in front of it and Guyger's didn't. Our reporters have been to the apartment complex numerous times to look at the differences.

MW

pumpkinjooce141 karma

Why is she only facing manslaughter charges? She was in somebody else's appartment and shot him..

dallasmorningnews66 karma

Great question. Here's a piece we wrote that attempts to explain the difference in the charges. https://www.dallasnews.com/news/courts/2018/09/11/dallas-officercharged-manslaughter-not-murder-killing-botham-jean

FatherStorm122 karma

I thought I read a report that Botham Jean was in the process of eating? if so, is it reasonable to assume there would have been ambient light present enough to determine the inside of the apartment was not her own?

dallasmorningnews173 karma

The attorney for Mr. Jean's family said he was eating a bowl of cereal that night. He also said there was a work file nearby, but it was too dark to work. He was watching football on TV, so there would have been some light from that source. The officer's account is that she saw a silhouette.

kymberlaine115 karma

Have the Texas Rangers released a statement on their investigation? Is the Dallas Morning News pursuing sources within the Texas Rangers to get more information? Time just seems to be passing with no news and that doesn't make sense.

dallasmorningnews170 karma

We regularly contact the Texas Rangers. So far they haven't been willing to release information about the ongoing investigation. They have a reputation among journalists for being extremely conservative about how much they share.

DALLASBIGDBABYHAHA102 karma

How do you decide whether it's appropriate to use an anonymous source, particularly in a case where "authorities inside the police department" may have an interest in framing a story in a way that isn't exactly fair or honest? Is there a vetting process in place, and how far up the editorial chain does that go before a decision is made?

dallasmorningnews143 karma

Thanks for this question. There is a vetting process. First, no anonymous source is used without my direct knowledge or that of Managing Editor Keith Campbell. Also, we do work to establish whether a source can be trusted. We ask such questions as: Is this person in a position to know this information? Did he/she get the information independently and reliably? Has the person been a trusted source for us before? We are reluctant to use anonymous sources because readers are understandably skeptical of them. So if you read an anonymous source's comment in The Dallas Morning News, you should know that it has been vetted.

MW

ojw_1582 karma

Thanks for your work Mike, I knew Botham and hope to see justice carried out fairly. I have several questions that I haven't seen answered in reports yet.

  1. Is it known that the marijuana was Botham's? The items from the search warrant included things both from his apartment and from the officer. I hate that this has become such a large part of the case but now that it's in the open I'd like for this to be answered.
  2. Do we know if toxicology was done on the officer the night of the incident?
  3. Where did the 2 shots that were fired impact? And do we know the distance between Amber and Botham when she fired? It's my understanding that Botham was struck with 1 of the 2 shots.
  4. Do any of the witnesses know if the shots were fired in rapid succession? Or was there a delay in firing?
  5. Are there cameras in the parking garage and has it been confirmed that Amber parked on the 4th level?

dallasmorningnews56 karma

Thank you very much. I'm sorry for your loss. ... The police did not say to whom the marijuana belonged. Yes, blood was drawn from the officer on the night of the incident. ... Yes, we are told that one of the two shots struck Mr. Jean, in the torso. ... We don't know about the timing of the shots. ... We don't know if there are cameras, and investigators have said she parked on the fourth level.

MW

chopandscrew55 karma

What is her current employment status as a LEO? I’d imagine being charged for man slaughter would be reasonable cause for termination.

dallasmorningnews91 karma

She is currently employed and on administrative leave. The police chief has said she will wait until after the completion of an internal investigation, which won't begin until after the criminal investigation is complete. That has generally been the practice, though chiefs have quickly fired people before. Here is our story about her status:

https://www.dallasnews.com/news/dallas-police/2018/09/12/will-amber-guyger-keep-job-dallas-police-force-decision-hold-now

-Tristan Hallman

Breaking news editor

Moonbeam10850 karma

Have you made requests for the original 911 audio release? Why hasn't it been released?

dallasmorningnews98 karma

Indeed we have asked for it. We've filed a formal public records request. We are told that it is part of an ongoing investigation, which the police often say and we often question. It can be a struggle to get our hands on what we believe are legitimate public records.

MW

i_like_it_raw_44 karma

i haven’t seen anything confirming that the officer went straight home after her shift. is there any time missing from her side of the story....like when she left DPD headquarters to the time the 911 call was made? are toxicology tests back yet?

dallasmorningnews70 karma

We've requested records about when she clocked out; they haven't been released yet. Investigators also got a search warrant for the electronic lock on her door. That would tell them if she or someone inserted her key into her own lock that night. The results of that search are not yet public. MW

Thebalance2129 karma

Why hasn't the media categorized this as murder? If it was the other way around, the civilian would of gotten a $50 million bond and published all over the international media outlets.

dallasmorningnews81 karma

A few people have asked about this; thanks for bringing it up. Murder is a legal charge. We characterize these things according to the charge the police bring. So far, Guyger is charged with manslaughter, so we refer to "the killing" of Botham Jean. We don't say "the murder" of him because so far she isn't charged with or convicted of that.

MW

PURPscurp175 karma

Mike, thanks for taking the time to do this...

What's your impression of the situation? Do you think it was completely race/sex-motivated or would she have shot a white man/black woman who she thought was in her apartment?

Is this your first time reporting on this type of situation? How has the way you've had to handle it been different than your expectation on how you thought you would've handled it?

dallasmorningnews12 karma

These are really good questions. I've reported on a lot of difficult cases in 35 years as a journalist. This one stands out because it involves a police officer killing an unarmed person in his own home. The racial dimension raises a lot of legitimate questions and concerns for many of our readers. I think we've handled it about the way I would have expected. If I have a criticism of what we've done, it's that we've had some headlines that didn't fully reflect what was in the story. In print, we had a headline that said, "Officer's account backed." That was true as far as it went, but the story also included plenty of questions about the officer's account. MW

Groots_Arm3 karma

How can you report in an unbiased manner?

dallasmorningnews24 karma

We are all human and recognize that we have biases. The challenge is to focus on hard information -- to report what we know and avoid speculation, to use trustworthy sources, and to focus always on asking questions. It is still possible that bias will show in our work, and we bear responsibility for that when it happens.

rcc7372 karma

My question is more about your (and your editors/publishers) ethics in journalism than this case.

Pretend in the future you're covering a story. You've covered the story for a significant amount of time. After a dozen articles you learn of significant information regarding the story. Publishing the information would ruin your reputation and your readers would turn their back on you. However the information would exonerate (let's say the police don't have this information) an innocent person.

Do you:

  1. Turn the information over to the police and publish another article therefor ruining your career?

  2. Bury the information and hope it never comes out?

  3. Something else?

dallasmorningnews7 karma

Look, I don't want to make some big argument about how virtuous we are. But one of the basic principles of working in honest media is that we admit mistakes. I've published whole columns about dumb things we've done. MW https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/06/27/news-organizations-including-one-unintentionally-misinformed-public-guns

ryanbayview2 karma

Do you believe the blood results determining whether alcohol/drugs in her system will play an important role in the case? If no to either in her system would this be played more of a race case?

dallasmorningnews5 karma

The blood test results will be important information either way, I think. There is a great deal of concern and curiosity about her condition and state of mind that night.

MW

rodmandirect1 karma

Why do you think she shot him?

dallasmorningnews16 karma

We're not in the business of speculation. All we can report are the facts.

-Tristan Hallman/Matt Peterson

Breaking news editors

MaxHannibal1 karma

You've probably researched this more than most. What's your opinion on what happened?

dallasmorningnews4 karma

As the editor, I feel it would be inappropriate for me to venture an opinion. But we employ people whose job is to form an opinion and share it. Metro columnist Sharon Grigsby's view is that even if Officer Guyger's story is true, this was a crime. Here's her column. https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2018/09/10/even-everything-amber-guyger-says-true-decision-shoot-botham-jean-crime