Earlier this week, Botham Jean’s killer Amber Guyger was found guilty of his murder. On Wednesday, the former police officer was sentenced to 10 years in prison for the crime. While she has consistently maintained her story that she shot Jean to death “accidentally” after walking into his apartment believing it was hers and that she was being robbed, her story has never sat well with prosecutors, the jury, or the general public.
During her sentencing on Wednesday, Guyger was offered something many would argue she doesn’t actually deserve: mercy. It came from Botham’s brother, who said in his victim impact statement that he forgives Guyger because that’s what his brother would want him to do.
This moment.— Muhammad Lila (@MuhammadLila) October 3, 2019
The brother of Botham Jean, who was shot dead in his own apartment by a white policewoman, tells her that he forgives her.
Then he walks across the floor and gives her a hug. pic.twitter.com/IJz64xrr1p
“I forgive you. Go to God… I don’t even want you to go to jail because that’s what Botham would want,” the statement read.
In his victim impact statement, Botham's brother said he forgives Guyger, wants the best for her and hopes she gives her life to Christ.— Jolie McCullough (@jsmccullou) October 2, 2019
"I don't know if this is possible, but can I give her a hug, please?"
The two embrace hard. pic.twitter.com/9enPTTno7C
After hearing the moving statement, Botham’s brother caused further tears in the courtroom by hugging Guyger tightly. It was an emotional and unprecedented scene, and things got even more incredible when Judge Tammy Kemp also came off the bench to hug Guyger.
How Botham Jean’s brother chooses to grieve is his business. He’s entitled to that. But this judge choosing to hug this woman is unacceptable. Keep in mind this convicted murderer is the same one who laughed about Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination, and killing ppl on sight. https://t.co/Nu5QGOIR1K— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) October 2, 2019
It was likely meant as an olive branch to heal a very fractured community, but many on Twitter were less than thrilled about it.
After Brandt Jean tells Amber Guyger “I forgive you. Go to God... I don’t even want you to go to jail because that’s what Botham would want.” Judge Tammy Kemp then hugs Guyger.— Cassandra Jaramillo (@cassandrajar) October 2, 2019
Almost everyone was crying in that courtroom. pic.twitter.com/7LtXuod7YR
“This is why blacks will continue to always be last in this particular society,” one user wrote. “Nat Turner warned us that this mentality is extremely dangerous and in 2019 this is still the norm! I’m so used to this bullsh*t I can’t even be upset! Why be upset for them when they wanna hug her.”
This is why blacks will continue to always be last in this particular society. Nat Turner warned us that this mentality is extremely dangerous and in 2019 this is still the norm! I’m so use to this bullshit I can’t even be upset! Why be upset for them when they wanna hug her 🤷🏿♂️ pic.twitter.com/ZbxiFRzdPc— Carl Corleone (@CarlCorleone) October 2, 2019
Another added, “Why are black ppl expected to have superhuman levels of forgiveness/compassion for literal murderers?? What exactly did Guyger do that made ppl think she was worthy of forgiveness?? Why are they extending sympathy to someone who had no sympathy for the man she murdered?”
Why are black ppl expected to have superhuman levels of forgiveness/compassion for literal murderers?? What exactly did guyger do that made ppl think she was worthy of forgiveness?? Why are they extending sympathy to someone who had no sympathy for the man she murdered?— Ana R (@AnaRooot) October 2, 2019
The point many of these commenters are making—that yesterday’s courtroom scenes would not have taken place if the situation was reversed and a black person had murdered a white one—is a poignant one and one that has more than a small ring of truth to it. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go before we get anywhere near true equality in this country.
No. She's a CONVICTED murderer. She is not a sympathetic figure deserving of pity. This is ridiculous.— Red™️ (@Redpainter1) October 2, 2019
I am disgusted that the judge crossed this line. She should be brought up for judicial review.