Benjamin Crump ― an attorney for the family of Botham Jean, a Black man who was killed in his own apartment by a white police officer last year ― said Tuesday that the cop who killed Jean might not have been found guilty if Jean hadn’t been “a near-perfect person of color.”
Speaking at a press conference just after former Dallas police Officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murder, Crump suggested that Jean’s stellar reputation played a role in the jury’s decision ― a privilege he said most unarmed Black people killed by police are not afforded.
“Botham Jean was a near-perfect person of color, so this jury had to make history in America today,” Crump told reporters. “Botham was the best we had to offer.”
“But it shouldn’t take all that,” he added, “for unarmed Black and brown people to get justice.”
Guyger killed Jean the night of Sept. 6, 2018. She says she mistakenly entered his apartment, thinking it was her own, and believed she was shooting an intruder. Jean was 26.
Speaking on Tuesday, Crump listed Jean’s personal accomplishments, reminding reporters that he was college-educated and worked at one of the more respected accounting firms in the country.
The case had been closely watched, especially by advocates for criminal justice reform, racial equity and police accountability. After previous cases in which white officers shot unarmed Black people without repercussion, many observers expected Guyger’s trial to play out similarly. But on Tuesday, a Dallas jury returned a guilty verdict after hours of deliberation.
“This is a precedent now that will go forth across America for equal justice under the law for everybody,” Crump said.
Guyger faces a potential life sentence for her charge.
Watch Crump’s full remarks, beginning at the 41:40 mark, below: