Botham Jean's Family Sues Apartment Complex Where He Was Killed By Amber Guyger

Holly Matkin

Attorney Lee Merritt said the South Side Flats apartment complex is responsible for issues that led to the shooting.

Dallas, TX – The family of a man who was killed by an off-duty Dallas police officer who mistakenly entered his apartment instead of her own is suing the apartment complex where the fatal shooting occurred.

Lee Merritt, attorney for the family of 26-year-old Botham Jean, said that the South Side Flats apartment building’s confusing layout and a faulty mechanism on Jean’s door contributed to his death, The Dallas Morning News reported.

“It wouldn’t shut all the way,” Merritt said. “If it had shut all the way, Amber Guyger wouldn’t have been able to get in…The lock would snag and not connect in response to certain types of weather.”

Approximately 70 percent of the tenants on the third and fourth floors of the South Side Flats said they have also gone to the incorrect floor in the past, he told The Dallas Morning News.

The now-former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, 30, parked on the wrong floor of the complex’s parking garage after finishing her 14-hour shift just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 6, 2018, according to WCAU.

The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lived on the 3rd Floor of the South Side Flats apartment complex, and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.

But the off-duty officer parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage and proceeded into the building, where she went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and inserted her key.

“She inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole,” the affidavit said. “The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”

The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.

The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door.

Officer Guyger told investigators she saw the silhouette of someone in what she believed to be her own apartment, and drew her firearm, WCAU reported. The affidavit said she believed she was being robbed.

She gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, according to the affidavit. Then she fired her weapon in the dark at the person twice, striking him once.

The arrest affidavit said it wasn’t until Officer Guyger was already on the phone with 911, that she reached to turn on the lights and she realized she was not in her own apartment.

She went into the hall and checked the address on the door, and confirmed for the dispatchers that she was in unit 1478, one floor above her own apartment, WCAU reported.

Jean was transported to Baylor Medical Center in Dallas, where he later died.

On Oct. 1, 2019, Guyger was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn recently removed the city of Dallas from a civil lawsuit filed by Jean’s family, The Dallas Morning News reported.

The lawsuit accused the city of failing to properly train officers, resulting in an alleged pattern of excessive force.

Lynn determined that the lawsuit failed to prove that the city was liable for Jean’s death, and noted that Officer Guyger was also off-duty at the time of the fatal encounter.

“When a police officer observes a crime, when she responds to it, she goes back on duty," Merritt told The Dallas Morning News. "They are considered to be back on duty.”

“She came to her door, she heard rumbling inside and she believed she was being burglarized,” he added. “She started offering verbal commands. Clearly now, she’s operating as a police officer. In fact, she used the words, ‘My training kicked in.’"

The family is appealing Lynn’s decision.

Guyger is also listed as a defendant in the same lawsuit, WFAA reported.

Comments (48)
No. 1-18
ScaleriBrosLawyer
ScaleriBrosLawyer

Oh, so now they admit the door was faulty? Leading her to believe she was entering her own apartment? Weird, that wasn't the narrative they were pushing before.

RetiredCorrections
RetiredCorrections

Lost the fist lottery, gonna play again

Pewter Schmidt
Pewter Schmidt

"...The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.

The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door..."

That's odd. Previous reports claimed he was wearing earbuds and couldn't hear her commands to stop or she would shoor. So now we are changing the narrative to fit the lawsuit???

csh
csh

The officer is in prison for 10yrs. As sorry as I am for the loss of their son, suing anyone will not bring him back. In my eyes they are just looking for a payout from anyone they can.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

So what is the law on this kind of liability? Apartment doors probably malfunction frequently, and it's also probably true that if the door had been latched properly, she would have realized it was not her apartment when her key did not work.

My guess would be that doors malfunctioning are an act of God, and only if the apartment building had been notified and not done anything, would they be negligent and culpable.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Well, the suit against the city was thrown out, Guyger has no money and is in jail, who else can pay? lets try the apartment complex. To be honest, they might get a check from the complex's insurance company, but it's not going to make up for the tragic killing.

MJC73
MJC73

To me, it basically sounds like that he is admitting that her story, is plausible.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Maybe you should hug the apartment manager. That worked out well for y'all last time, didn't it?

Akansan
Akansan

Well the first lawsuit didn't work so now we're trying a different approach to be rich after our son was killed. Doing all of this so we can afford a huge monument in honor of his death. RIGGHTTTTT!!!!

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

If the door was working correctly, it would mean that Guyger breached and she would be on death row now (and TX does executions).

The criminal justice system accepted that the door was defective, so it seems reasonable for the survivors to allege that same "fact" for purposes of their lawsuit.

Hi_estCommieDenom
Hi_estCommieDenom

When this fails, they're gonna go after the parking garage designer. 😂😂😂

Stanracer
Stanracer

Playin the ghetto lottery....again!

Mrs10
Mrs10

This should be interesting from a legal perspective.

If the family is successful with this, they may end up getting Guyer out of prison.

They seem like really good people in general so maybe they're trying to help her in some way too.

After all, if this works, she'll have cause for a motion to vacate her sentence and/or a new trial.

Or their motives could be completely self-serving. Either way, she'll be helped if this works.

Hi_estCommieDenom
Hi_estCommieDenom

They change their narrative on this more than a Democrat politician

investigator
investigator

SHOW ME THE MONEY!!!!!!

tbirdboy
tbirdboy

I suspect if the bullet went the other direction, the comments on this thread would be way different.

tuggingalong
tuggingalong

Race hustlers have to eat too.

Sabanita
Sabanita

#ALLLIVESMATTER


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