Botham Shem Jean.
The New York based Caribbean Guyana Institute for Democracy (CGID) on Friday harshly condemned the killing of 26 year-old St. Lucian national and Dallas, Texas resident, Botham Shem Jean. Jean was shot and killed around 10:00 p.m Thursday night, September 6, 2018 in his own home, by a female Dallas police officer. The officer told investigators that she returned home from her shift and entered the wrong apartment in her building.
In a statement issued Friday, CGID President, Rickford Burke, said the officer’s negligent, reckless conduct and depraved indifference to human life resulted in murder. He consequently called on Dallas District Attorney Faith Johnson to prosecute the officer accordingly and to the fullest extent of the law.
Burke said “the culture of policing that has emerged in black communities all across America is one where cops shoot to kill first, then ask questions after.” He asserted that “Police officers are killing black men while walking innocently on the streets, driving innocently in our cars and now while living innocently in our own home. This is too much for a people to bear. CGID therefore calls on the US Justice Department to review and revise the protocols for armed engagement by law enforcement in America.”
Burke said “CGID intends to write our US Senators and Members of Congress from New York, to push for a national review and reform of protocols on how and when law enforcement officers engage in the use of force. This is long overdue. How many more black men must be killed before we take action?” Burke posited that “politicians who sit by and do nothing about the epidemic of law enforcement murders of innocent black men are equally complicit in these killings and should be held to account.”
Dallas police department Friday issued a statement claiming that the officer called for help and told responding officers “she entered the victim’s apartment believing that it was her own.” The incident took place at South Side Flats, an upscale apartment complex located in downtown, Dallas, a few blocks from Police headquarters.
Dallas Police said the officer was in full uniform and “fired her weapon striking the victim who was transported to hospital where he was pronounced dead. Burke blasted the Dallas Police for not releasing details about how the officer reached into Jean’s apartment and whether a breathalyzer was administered, as would have been the case with an ordinary citizen. He also questioned how Jean’s name was released to the public when Police simultaneously confirmed that the next of kin notification was not made.
Jean came to the US to study accounting at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. He also studied at the Sir Arthur Lewis Community College, in Castries, St. Lucia before migrating to the US. At the time of his death, he worked in Dallas as a risk assurance associate for accounting firm Price Waterhouse Coopers.
CGID Has called on all Caribbean American organizations and nationals to condemn Jean’s killing and to support and express solidarity with his family.
The following statement was released from the Embassy of Saint Lucia in Washington:
“The Embassy of Saint Lucia is shocked and saddened to learn of the death of Mr Botham Shem Jean. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and former colleague, for Permanent Secretary, Ms Allison Jean, who was Botham’s mother. To have such a promising life taken so violently is devastating. While we await more details on this tragic event, we place our faith in the system and trust that a full and thorough investigation will be conducted.”