Mother wonders if race factored into son’s death in Dallas
DALLAS (AP) – The mother of a black man who was gunned down at his home by a white Dallas police officer who said she mistook his apartment for her own suggested that her son might still be alive if he were white.
Allison Jean, the mother of 26-year-old Botham Jean, wondered whether race was a factor when the officer shot and killed her son after she returned home in uniform from her shift on Thursday night.
"I didn't know she was white until now. If it was a white man would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently?" Jean said Friday in footage broadcast by Dallas' NBC affiliate, KXAS.
Authorities have said the officer is white, but haven't released her name or other details about her.
Dallas' police chief, U. Renee Hall, said Friday that her department was seeking to charge the officer with manslaughter. But she said Saturday during a criminal justice panel livestreamed on Facebook that the Texas Rangers, who took over the case, asked her department to hold off issuing an arrest warrant because they needed more time to look into information the officer provided during an interview with investigators.
“The ball is in their court,” Hall said. She acknowledged that many questions remain about the shooting and asked the public to give investigators enough time to get to the answers.
The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Rangers, didn’t immediately reply to a Saturday phone message seeking comment.
Hall said Friday that the officer’s blood was drawn to be tested for drugs and alcohol and she acknowledged that there were still many questions about the events that led to Jean’s death.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said Saturday that the shooting is a “very serious situation” for the city and described Botham Jean as a young professional and man of faith who was “exactly the sort of citizen we want to have.”
He also said Hall was right to ask the Texas Rangers to take over the case.
Allison Jean, who has held government posts in St. Lucia, where she lives and where her son grew up, said her son’s death “just feels like a nightmare.”
The island country’s government issued a statement Friday expressing “shock” at the killing and extending condolences to the Jean family. It said officials at its embassy in the U.S. would provide assistance to the family.
Botham Jean attended Harding University in Arkansas and, after graduating in 2016, he had been living and working in Dallas at accounting and consulting firm PwC. The private school said Friday that he often led campus worship services while he was a student.