Democratic presidential candidates are demanding answers following the death of a key witness in the trial of Amber Guyger, a white former Dallas police officer convicted of killing an unarmed 26-year-old Black man in his own home.
Joshua Brown, 28, was gunned down on Friday night at South Side Flats, an apartment complex where he was a neighbor to Botham Jean, The Dallas Morning News reported. In September 2018, Guyger shot Jean to death, claiming she entered the wrong unit and mistook him for an intruder. She later pleaded not guilty.
On Wednesday, Guyger, 31, was sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Now, politicians want to know what happened to Brown.
“I’m heartsick for Joshua Brown’s family and friends,” Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted Friday. “He bravely stepped forward and testified to bring some justice for Botham Jean, and peace for his family. We need answers ― and Joshua Brown and his family need justice.”
Warren’s message echoed that of California Sen. Kamala Harris, who praised Brown’s “selflessness and courage,” and offered prayers for his family and community.
“We demand answers,” she said.
New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, billionaire hedge fund manager Tom Steyer and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg have also spoken out, disturbed by the second killing.
In his remarks, Castro called for “a transparent investigation the people of Dallas can trust.”
During Guyger’s trial, she claimed that upon seeing Jean, she said, “Let me see your hands” before she shot him. However, Brown, who lived across the hall, testified that he did not hear her say any such commands, instead describing the sound as “two people meeting by surprise,” according to the Morning News.
Jean’s death sparked outrage as yet another example of lethal use of force by law enforcement on a person of color.
In a Facebook post on Saturday, Lee Merrit, the lawyer for Jean’s family, said the slaying of Brown “underscores the reality of the black experience in America.”
“A former athlete turned entrepreneur ― Brown lived in constant fear that he could be the next victim of gun violence, either state sanctioned or otherwise,” he wrote. “We have more work to do deal with the constant threats to our community both from within and without. Brown deserves the same justice he sought to ensure the Jean family. The Dallas County criminal justice system must [be] mobilized to identify his killer and see that he is held accountable for this murder.”
This article has been updated with Buttigieg’s statement.
CORRECTION: This article initially referred to Booker as a senator from New York. He represents New Jersey.