Botham Jean’s brother embraces Amber Guyger after sentencing
A Dallas judge said Monday she “would not” and “could not refuse” giving a hug and Bible to the former police officer she had just sentenced to 10 years behind bars for killing unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean.
District Judge Tammy Kemp, who is black, has come under fire for the compassion she showed last week to Guyger, who was convicted of second-degree murder.
Guyger, who is white, accidentally barged into the apartment of her black neighbor on Sept. 6 last year. Believing Jean was an intruder, Guyger, who had just finished a shift, drew her weapon and gunned down Jean, 26, in his own home.
During Guyger’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, also said he wished Guyger well and also hugged her.
Both his and Kemp’s physical embrace of Guyger, 31, have angered some in the African American community.
“Following my own convictions, I could not refuse that woman a hug. I would not,” Kemp, who has acknowledged her Christian faith, said in an interview with The Associated Press.
“And I don’t understand the anger. And I guess I could say if you profess religious beliefs and you are going to follow them, I would hope that they not be situational and limited to one race only.”
In Kemp’s first interview since the end of Guyger’s trial, the judge said she felt her actions were acceptable since the embrace came after all official proceedings had been completed.
“She asked me if I thought that God could forgive her and I said, ‘Yes, God can forgive you and has,’ ” Kemp told the AP.
Kemp also handed Guyger a Bible, which drew protests from civil liberty advocates, like The Freedom From Religion Foundation, a watchdog for the separation of church and state.
“If she wanted to start with the Bible, I didn’t want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter,” Kemp said. “Because she still has a lot of life ahead of her following her sentence and I would hope that she could live it purposefully.