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Botham Jean's family speaks out in heart-wrenching NFL PSA: "The world has lost a great man"

Discussing forgiveness and racial justice
Discussing forgiveness and racial justice 07:54

Botham Jean was "destined for greatness," according to his mother, Allison Jean, who spoke openly about her murdered son in a touching newly released public service announcement. The 26-year-old St. Lucia native was killed in his Dallas apartment in 2018 by an off-duty police officer who mistook his apartment for her own.

"Botham Jean is my son. He is an active child. He is the light in any dark room, and he is an outstanding young man," his mom said. "The world has lost a great man."

The Responsibility Program — a joint initiative between Jay-Z's Roc Nation and the NFL — has unveiled a PSA in an effort to raise awareness about the need to create change in communities.

"Botham was everything to us. I just can't do without him being here. I look forward to the day Botham would have gotten married, had kids," his father Bertrum Jean shares as he wipes away tears. "Life is not sweet anymore."

The emotional PSA also features Botham's sister, Allisa Findley. "He is the kindest, sweetest person you could ever know. He is a church leader, junior accountant, counselor. He is funny," she said. Findley describes her brother as "an upstanding citizen" who, at the time of his death, was "watching football, eating ice cream."

Amber Guyger, the officer who fatally shot Botham in September 2018, told investigators that she parked on the fourth floor of her apartment complex's garage, instead of the third floor, where she lived, and found the apartment's door open. Her defense argued that she thought Jean was a burglar in her home and that he was approaching her when she shot him. A jury convicted her of murder in October and sentenced the former Dallas cop to 10 years in prison.

In the three-minute PSA, memories of Botham appear across the screen as the family members narrate and share a message of unity. Botham's parents even reference the polarizing moment when their son Brandt forgave his brother's murderer and hugged Guyger, a gesture that brought the judge to tears.

"Why should there be hatred for each other? My young son demonstrated forgiveness," Bertrum said.

Botham Jean's parents, Allison and Bertrum, seen in a public service announcement posted online on Wednesday, January 22, 2020. NFL via Twitter

"I'm thankful that the NFL created this PSA to honor Botham's legacy and deliver an important message about empathy and unity I truly hope that our society learns from Botham's story — and the stories of many others — so we can make a lasting change in this world," Findley said in a statement. "Together, we must all set a better example for future generations and leaders."

In a plea for change, Botham's mom hopes that "our black boys and our black girls are not seen as a threat." She ends the PSA with a call for action. "What has happened to Botham should not happen to another family," she said. "There are things that must be done, and must be done quickly."

Since Botham's death, his sister launched the Botham Jean Foundation, a nonprofit organization, to help communities in St. Lucia, Dallas and Africa in honor of her brother and to "keep his legacy going for years and years to come."

Dallas Officer Mistaken Apartment
This September 21, 2017, photo provided by Harding University in Search, Arkansas, shows Botham Jean in Dallas. Jeff Montgomery/Harding University via AP
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