Dallas, TX – The Dallas police chief promised the public on Wednesday that she would order a review of the use of pepper balls to push back protesters outside police headquarters during a demonstration on Monday night (video below).
“I am concerned to learn of reports that one of our officers deployed potentially several pepper balls during a demonstration last night," Dallas Police Chief U. Renee Hall wrote in a statement on Tuesday, according to the Dallas Morning News.
"They are only to be utilized if instructed to do so by the on scene commander or if there is an immediate threat to the public,” the chief wrote.
Pepper ball guns fire paintball-like pellets which are typically filled with a pepper substance which irritates the eyes and nose when released into the air.
The demonstration on Monday night began at Dallas police headquarters and was a protest of off-duty Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger’s fatal shooting of her neighbor Botham Jean on Sept. 6.
Then Next Generation Action Network President and Founder Dominique Alexander led a march, blocking both sides of the road, to the South Side Flats apartment complex where Officer Guyger and Jean both lived, according to the Dallas Observer.
The shooting occurred when Officer Guyger returned to her apartment complex at about 10 p.m. after her shift.
Officer Guyger, 30, parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage adjacent to her apartment building, WCAU reported.
The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lives on the 3rd Floor of the Southside Flats, and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.
Officer Guyger proceeded into the building and went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and inserted her key.
The affidavit used to get the warrant for the officer’s arrest said the door to the 4th Floor apartment was not completely shut. It’s been reported that the Southside Flats apartments use an electronic entry system.
“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 26-year-old Jean, who went to see what was going on at his front door, the affidavit said.
Officer Guyger 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.
Protesters chanted “No Justice, No Peace” as they marched down Lamar on Monday night.
Video taken at the protest showed a line of officers attempting to block protesters from turning onto Cadiz Street, the Dallas Observer reported.
In the video, one officer was seen holding a pepperball gun. He shot several pepper balls in a line on the pavement in an attempt to drive back advancing protesters, the video showed.
The video showed the shots, which resulted in clouds of irritant being released into the air, were not fired in close proximity to any of the protesters.
Protesters screamed and yelled at the police, and then officers eventually moved out of the way and let the march continue, the Dallas Observer reported.
Shortly thereafter, an argument broke out between protesters when one demonstrator asked why the march was being directed by police, and the crowd became divided, according to the Dallas Observer.
From the limited information that has been released, there has been nothing to suggest that there could have, in any way, been racial bias involved in the shooting.
The officer was off duty and not acting in a law enforcement capacity at the time the incident occurred, and the investigation was given to an outside agency to perform.
Multiple sources have confirmed that Officer Guyger and Jean did not know each other, and any claims otherwise have been disproven, according to the Dallas Morning News.
You can see video of the officer shooting the pepperball gun below: