Amber Guyger gets 10-year murder sentence for fatally shooting Botham Jean

The final day of the murder trial included a stunning moment in which Jean’s younger brother, Brandt, told Guyger during his victim impact statement that he forgave her, and gave her a long hug before she was taken to prison.
Just after that, District Judge Tammy Kemp apparently gave Guyger a Bible and also hugged her.
“You can have mine. I have three or four more at home,” the judge said. “This is the one I use every day. This is your job for the next month. It says right here. John 3:16. And this is where you start. ‘For God so loved the world…'”
Jean’s mother, Allison, didn’t react to the sentence, other than to tell reporters outside the courtroom the 10 years will give Guyger time to reflect and to change her life.
Botham Jean's brother hugs the former police officer who killed him
Botham Jean’s brother hugs the former police officer who killed him
Jurors on Tuesday had found Guyger, 31, guilty of murder for fatally shooting Jean in his Dallas apartment in 2018. She had faced between five years and 99 years for the shooting.
Allison Jean told reporters that the trial exposed corruption in the city’s police department.
Allison Jean said the crime scene was contaminated.
“The city of Dallas needs to clean up inside. The Dallas Police Department has a lot of laundry to do,” she said.
As for the sentence, she said Guyger needs to reflect and change her life.
She said the former officer was either trained poorly or applied her training incorrectly.
“That should never, ever happen again,” she said. “If Amber Guyger was trained not to shoot in the heart, my son would be standing here today.”
Police Chief Renee Hall, who was not asked about Jean’s statements, said at her own news conference that the department will launch an internal investigation over police actions described by witnesses during the trial.
“The testimony that came out in this trial is not reflective of the men and women of the Dallas Police Department,” Hall said. “I stand before you today fully committed to making the changes that need to be made.”
Five hours after Guyger was sentenced, a small group of protesters were marching in the streets of Dallas, according to aerial images broadcast by CNN affiliate KTVT. The demonstrators were upset by a sentence they saw as too light.
‘Botham was my absolute person’
Wednesday’s sentencing hearing began with testimony from Jean’s close friend who shared stories of his love for sports and God. She wept over a text message she never sent to him.
Alexis Stossel met Jean her junior year at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. They became best friends after they were appointed to sit on a business school advisory board, she testified.
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Ex-officer Amber Guyger breaks down on the witness stand 03:25
The hearing began shortly after Tuesday’s verdict, in which jurors found Guyger, 31, guilty — despite the ex-officer’s defense that she mistakenly walked into the wrong apartment and opened fire because she thought Jean was an intruder.
“Next to my husband, Botham was my absolute person,” Stossel said, explaining that before she got married, she told her would-be spouse, “I love you, but this man is going to be in my life forever, and he’s going to be a part of us forever.”
Jean would've turned 28 this week.
Jean would’ve turned 28 this week.
Jean called Stossel “Big Tex” because of her height. He insisted that she call him “her black friend, Botham,” she said, laughing at the memory.
“People gravitated towards him,” Stossel said of Jean. “It didn’t matter if you didn’t know him personally or you were just in the same room, you just felt welcomed by his presence.”
Guyger’s mom raises sexual assault
Taking the stand to speak on her daughter’s behalf, Karen Guyger, 66, provided some background on Amber Guyger’s siblings, her separation from Amber Guyger’s father and her children’s upbringing in Arlington, just outside Dallas.
She broke down several times during her testimony and had trouble getting her words out as she recounted suspecting her ex-boyfriend of sexually molesting Amber in 1995, when she was 6.

Judge in disbelief after DA breaks rule in Amber Guyger trial 00:56
Amber Guyger’s sister, Alana Guyger, later elaborated, saying the boyfriend “touched (Amber) inappropriately on a few occasions.”
Amber’s mother called police, who arrested her then-boyfriend on a count of indecency with a child, to which he pleaded guilty, Karen Guyger said.
The weeping mother said her daughter was a sweet child who made friends quickly. She loved music and played violin and trumpet as a youngster. She loved the outdoors and was always a responsible, hard worker, her sister said.
On the day Jean died, the mother said, her daughter called crying uncontrollably.

Botham Jean’s minister: Sadness can’t be erased 01:29
“She was very upset. I couldn’t understand her when she first told me. I couldn’t understand her because she was crying so hard,” she said.
In later conversations, her daughter told her, “She wanted to take his place. She’d always tell me she wished that she could take his place. She feels very bad about it.”
Jean’s father takes the stand
Prior to Guyger’s mother’s testimony, Jean’s father, Bertrum Jean, took the stand, vacillating between tears and smiles. He recounted how when Botham Jean was young, he enjoyed being around him and always looked forward to picking him up at his grandmother’s house after work.
“It did not matter what time it was, I just wanted him with me,” he testified. “There were times when my friends said I was babying him, a big boy, but I enjoyed doing that.”
As he grew up, Jean, like many kids in primary school, grew embarrassed of embracing his father, “but I demanded it: ‘Come and hug your dad,'” Bertrum Jean said.
While Botham Jean was at Harding, his father also looked forward to their Sunday chats. They’d talk about church and Botham Jean would show off “his good cooking, which he learned from me.”

CNN granted access to Botham Jean’s apartment 03:30
“My Sundays have been destroyed … because I’m not hearing his voice,” Bertrum Jean testified, saying he can’t bear to watch video of his son singing because it’s too painful.
Former crack addict says Guyger made her feel human
LaWanda Clark met Guyger in 2017 when police came to the home where she was doing drugs. Guyger wrote her a ticket.
She told Clark, you can keep doing drugs or this can be your ticket out, Clark told the court. At the drug house, Guyger kept coming back to talk to Clark.
“It made me feel so human. It made me stop and think,” Clark said. “She let me know that I mattered, that she just didn’t see me as an addict.”
Clark went to court for the ticket where she was entered into a drug rehabilitation program. When she learned she would be graduating, she called police and asked whether the officer who wrote her a ticket could come.
Guyger came, and “I don’t know who was more excited,” said Clark, who said she hasn’t done crack since she was cited.
Guyger lived one floor below
During the trial, Guyger testified that after working long hours September 6, 2018, she returned to her apartment complex. In uniform but off duty, she approached what she thought was her apartment. She noticed the door was ajar, found a man inside and fired her service weapon, killing him.
She was actually at the apartment directly above hers, which belonged to the 26-year-old accountant from St. Lucia. Jean was on the couch, watching TV and eating ice cream when Guyger walked in, prosecutors said.
On the phone with a 911 operator that night, Guyger said 19 times she thought she had been in her apartment.
Guyger was initially charged with manslaughter, but a grand jury later indicted her for murder. The Dallas Police Department fired her. SOURCE :

Why are we still explaining blackface in 2019?

WHO WOULD’VE imagined that in 2019 we would still be explaining the history, impact and implications of blackface?

Surely, the racist caricature has been poked and prodded for years with numerous think pieces and debates around why it’s offensive and why white people who use it should be called out for their actions.

But low and behold, a scandal is a scandal – and there’s no scandal like one painted in black and doomed to cause uproar and offence.

Justin Trudeau is the latest white person to have their blackface history exposed.

The Canadian Prime Minister, often known for his liberal approach and “wokeness” to issues regarding diversity across race, sexuality and more, is currently living a political nightmare after images of him in blackface on three seprate occasions resurfaced a month before the Canadian elections.

What makes matters worse is that Mr. Trudeau can’t quite pinpoint how many times he “blacked up” in his youth.

In a statement made on Thursday (Sep 19), the shamed PM said: “What I did hurt them, hurt people who shouldn’t have to face intolerance and discrimination because of their identity. This is something I deeply, deeply regret.

“Darkening your face is always unacceptable because of the racist history of blackface. I should have understood that then, and I never should have done it.”

During his apology, Trudeau declined to say whether there were more instances of him wearing blackface, stating that his white privilege gave him a blind spot on the issue.

Blackface-gate is neverending, and therefore the endless pathetic explanations defending those who use such actions continue – and thus black people are consistently left to explain something that should really be understood.

Whilst I was listening to both LBC and BBC Radio London this morning, many callers shared their sentiments on blackface and why it shouldn’t be a matter of offence, with one caller labelling those who speak out against it as “snowflakes”.

The fact that criticising people who use blackface can be reduced to a mere instance of “political correctness” and “snowflake-like behaviour” is extremly telling of the times we’re in, but also reflective of the never-ending cycle of black people having to relieve and explain racism, discrimination, prejudice plus more to people who use the above reasons as an excuse.

Blackface is more than offensive, it’s straight up racist. Regardless of your intent – whether it was just to “dress up” as your favourite black celeb – your actions are still racist and no amount of excuses changes that.

The need for black people to be called upon to explain why it is is even more infuriating – after all, Google does exist.

But in all seriousness, the history of blackface is no hidden secret – and for those, like Trudeau, who are unaware because of their “white privilege” I’d encourage you to pick up a book or merely Google, and a plethora of information is there at your disposal.

I for one, will not be tasked with explaining the complex and hurtful history behind the racist trope in big 2019 like we don’t have access to the same resources – I’d encourage my fellow brothers and sisters to do the same. SOURCE :

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe ex-president, dies aged 95

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s first post-independence leader, has died aged 95.

His family confirmed his death to the BBC. Mr Mugabe had been receiving treatment in a hospital in Singapore since April.

He was ousted in a military coup in 2017 after 37 years in power.

Mr Mugabe’s early years were praised for broadening access to health and education for the black majority – but his later years were marked by rights abuses and corruption.

He won Zimbabwe’s first election after it secured independence from the UK, becoming prime minister in 1980.

He abolished the office in 1987, becoming president instead.
◾Obituary: Robert Mugabe
◾Live: Reaction to Mr Mugabe’s death

His successor, Emmerson Mnangagwa, expressed his “utmost sadness”, calling Mr Mugabe “an icon of liberation”

Mr Mnangagwa had been Mr Mugabe’s deputy before replacing him.

Who was Robert Mugabe?

Mr Mugabe was born on 21 February 1924 in what was then Rhodesia – a British colony, run by its white minority.

He was imprisoned for more than a decade without trial after criticising the government of Rhodesia in 1964.

In 1973, while still in prison, he was chosen as president of the Zimbabwe African National Union (Zanu), of which he was a founding member.

Once released, he headed to Mozambique, from where he directed guerrilla raids into Rhodesia. But he was also seen as a skilled negotiator.

Political agreements to end the crisis resulted in the new independent Republic of Zimbabwe.

Media captionZimbabwe’s week of upheaval that saw Mugabe ousted

With his high profile in the independence movement, Mr Mugabe secured an overwhelming victory in the republic’s first election.

But over his decades in power, international perceptions soured, with an increasing number of critics portraying Mr Mugabe as a kind of dictator.

In 2000, facing serious political opposition for the first time, he seized white-owned farms to resettle black farmers, causing economic disruption but boosting his popularity among supporters.

Around the same time, pro-Mugabe militias used violence to influence political outcomes. In 2008, when he lost the first round of the presidential election, attacks on the opposition resulted in his rival pulling out of the contest.

He famously declared that only god could remove him from office.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe (L) and his wife Grace (R) greet supporters at a national Heroes Day rally in Harare, August 11, 2014Image copyright Reuters
Image caption
Mr Mugabe’s downfall came after suspicions that his wife Grace might succeed him

He was forced into sharing power in 2009 amid economic collapse, installing rival Morgan Tsvangirai as prime minister.

But in 2017, amid concerns that he was grooming his wife Grace as his successor, the army – his long-time ally – turned against the president and forced him to step down.

What has the reaction been?

Deputy Information Minister Energy Mutodi, of Mr Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party, told the BBC the party was “very much saddened” by his death.

“As a government, we are very much with the family members of the Mugabe family,” he said.

“He was a principled man: he could not change easily over his beliefs. He’s a man who believed himself, he’s a man who believed in what he did and he is a man who was very assertive in whatever he said.

“This was a good man.”

Not everyone agreed, however.

Zimbabwean Senator David Coltart, who was once labelled “an enemy of the state” by Mr Mugabe, said his legacy was marred by his adherence to violence as a political tool.

Twitter post by @DavidColtart: I’ve read several tweets stating that #RobertMugabe death is the end of an era. I beg to differ. Regrettably the negative aspects of his legacy – violence, disrespect for the rule of law, corruption & abuse of power – live on in the new regime which overthrew him in the 2017 coupImage Copyright @DavidColtart @DavidColtart

“He was always committed to violence, going all the way back to the 1960s… he was no Martin Luther King,” he told the BBC World Service. “He never changed in that regard.”

But he acknowledged that there was another side to Robert Mugabe – “a man who indeed had a great passion for education – and I think he mellowed in his later years.

“There’s a lot of affection towards him, because we must never forget that he was the person primarily responsible for ending oppressive white minority rule.”

The government of neighbouring South Africa tweeted its condolences, labelling Mr Mugabe “a fearless pan-Africanist liberation fighter”.

The BBC’s Shingai Nyoka, in the capital Harare, said Mr Mugabe was likely to be remembered for his early achievements.

In his later years, people had called him all sorts of names, but now is probably the time when Zimbabweans will think back to his 37 years in power, she said.

There’s a saying here – that whoever dies becomes a hero, and we’re likely to see that now, our correspondent adds.

Robert Mugabe – key dates

1924: Born. Later trains as a teacher

1964: Imprisoned by Rhodesian government

1980: Wins post-independence elections

1996: Marries Grace Marufu

2000: Loses referendum – pro-Mugabe militias invade white-owned farms and attack opposition supporters

2008: Comes second in first round of elections to Tsvangirai, who pulls out of run-off following nationwide attacks on his supporters

2009: Amid economic collapse, swears in Tsvangirai as prime minister, who serves in uneasy government of national unity for four years

2017: Sacks long-time ally Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, paving the way for his wife Grace to succeed him

November 2017: Army intervenes and forces him to step down


Bahamas reports ‘total devastation’ in wake of Hurricane Dorian

United Nations and Red Cross relief officials rushed to deal with an unfolding humanitarian crisis in the Bahamas in the wake of Hurricane Dorian on Tuesday after the most powerful storm ever to hit the islands devastated homes, crippled hospitals and left thousands in need of food and water.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis said at least seven people had been killed, with the full scope of the disaster on the tourism-dependent islands still unknown.

“We can expect more deaths to be recorded,” Minnis told a news conference. This is just preliminary information.

Emergency assistance including a Royal Navy ship carrying food supplies was already being deployed, he added.

Rescuers were focussing on the battered Abaco and Grand Bahama islands.

“It’s total devastation. It’s decimated. Apocalyptic,” said Lia Head-Rigby, who helps run a local hurricane relief organisation and flew over the Abaco Islands.

“It’s not rebuilding something that was there; we have to start again.”

Head-Rigby said her representative on Abaco told her that there were “a lot more dead” and that the bodies were being gathered.

Looming over the Bahamas for a day and a half, Dorian pounded the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama with winds up to 185 mph (295km/h) and torrential rain before finally moving into open waters on a course for Florida. Its winds slowed to a still-dangerous 110 mph (175km/h).

More than two million people along the coast in Florida, Georgia and North and South Carolina were warned to leave. While the threat of a direct hit on Florida has largely evaporated, Dorian was expected to pass dangerously close to Georgia and South Carolina – and perhaps strike North Carolina – on Thursday or Friday.

Al Jazeera’s Andy Gallacher, on the coast at Titusville ïn Florida, said officials were warning residents not to get complacent.

“Most people have heeded the warnings,” he said. “They have made preparations. They cannot yet breathe a sigh of relief until this days-long event is over and with the storm moving so slowly it could take some time.

Homes, drinking water destroyed

In the Bahamas, Red Cross spokesman Matthew Cochrane said more than 13,000 houses, or about 45 percent of the homes in Grand Bahama and Abaco, were believed to have been severely damaged or destroyed.

UN officials said more than 60,000 people on the hard-hit islands needed food, and the Red Cross said some 62,000 needed clean drinking water.

“What we are hearing lends credence to the fact that this has been a catastrophic storm and a catastrophic impact,” he said.

Theo Neilly, the Bahamian Consul General in Washington, DC, said authorities “have not been able to assess the damages on Grand Bahama Island just yet. We expect it to be very devastating and the damage to be extreme.”

The Red Cross authorised $500,000 for the first wave of disaster relief, Cochrane said. And UN humanitarian teams stood ready to go into the stricken areas to help assess the damage and the country’s needs, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said. The US government also sent a disaster response team.

Abaco and Grand Bahama islands, with a combined population of about 70,000, are known for their marinas, golf courses and all-inclusive resorts. To the south, the Bahamas’ most populous island, New Providence, which includes the capital city, Nassau, and has more than a quarter of a million people, suffered little damage.

Bahamian officials received a “tremendous” number of calls from people in flooded homes, and desperate callers trying to find loved ones left messages with local radio stations.

Speaking to Al Jazeera from Freeport in Grand Bahama, local resident Sarah Kirby said that she and her family had had 15 minutes to evacuate their home as the storm triggered a tidal surge along the island’s northern coast.

“It was terrifying,” Kirby said, adding that she’d been forced to leave the family’s cats behind. “We’ve got our lives, but we can’t get to our house right now.”

The US Coast Guard airlifted to safety at least 21 people who had been injured on Abaco. Rescuers also used jet skis to reach some people as choppy, coffee-coloured floodwaters reached to the tops of palm trees.

“We will confirm what the real situation is on the ground,” Health Minister Duane Sands said. “We are hoping and praying that the loss of life is limited.”

Sands said that Dorian left the main hospital on Grand Bahama unusable, while the hospital in Marsh Harbor in the Abaco islands was in need of food, water, medicine and surgical supplies. He said crews were trying to airlift five to seven kidney-failure patients from Abaco who had not received dialysis since Friday.

The Grand Bahama airport was under six feet (two metres) of water.

As of 8pm (24:00 GMT) Dorian was centred about 110 miles (180 km) east of Cape Canaveral, Florida. It was moving northwest at six mph (7km/h). Hurricane-force winds extended up to 60 miles (95km) from its centre. SOURCE :

Revellers soak up sunshine at Notting Hill Carnival

REVELLERS HAVE been soaking up the sunshine at what is thought to be one of the hottest Notting Hill Carnivals ever.

The streets along the route in west London were awash with colour as hundreds of thousands of partygoers enjoyed the beginning of the long-standing celebration of Caribbean heritage in the capital.

About one million people are expected to flock to west London on Sunday and bank holiday Monday for the carnival, which has been running for more than 50 years.

Organisers have described it as the UK’s “biggest celebration of culture, diversity and inclusivity”, and promised this year’s will “once again be full of vibrant colours, incredible music and dancing”.

Meteorologist Steven Keates said temperatures in the Notting Hill area edged close to 32C on Sunday. The hottest late August bank holiday on record was 31.5C in 2001.

He said: “It’s looking like this is one of the hottest carnivals ever.

“Tomorrow looks like it’s going to be hot again, so I would urge people to stay safe in the sun, drink plenty of water and enjoy themselves.”

While the dates of carnival were not fixed in the early days, it has been held on the late August bank holiday weekend for at least four decades, organisers said.

Onlookers gathered on pavements in the sunshine as the community celebration began carving its way around west London in a mass of music, dancing and bold costumes of neon Lycra and brightly-coloured feathered headdresses on Sunday morning.

The crowds enjoyed ice-creams and clutched water bottles as they meandered through the streets to the beat of steel pan drums, as well as dance hall music blasting from speakers piled on to floats.

Almost 12,500 police officers and some 1,000 stewards will be in place across the two-day event to ensure a “safe and spectacular” festival.

After what Metropolitan Police hailed as a successful use of screening arches – used to detect offensive weapons – for the first time at the carnival in 2018, there are “significantly more” dotted around the area this year.

Scotland Yard has not said how many arches are being used or where they would all be positioned, but described them as a “fantastic deterrent”.

The force, which has had to respond to a spate of stabbings across the capital in recent years, admitted last year that not everyone attending the event would pass through the screening facilities.

In 2018 there were two non life-threatening stabbings over the carnival weekend and some 45 police officers were injured.

The force said it will be “taking every step to make sure that doesn’t happen this year”.

On Sunday people, including families with buggies, walked through six arches placed on Westbourne Grove which were flanked by police officers. SOURCE :