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Judge dismisses lawsuit against Dallas over man shot by officer in own home

Botham Jean's mom reacts to son hugging cop

A federal judge has ruled the city of Dallas is not liable for an off-duty police officer fatally shooting a man in his own apartment last year. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn dismissed the city from a civil lawsuit that the family of Botham Jean brought after he was shot and killed by Amber Guyger.

The ruling leaves the 31-year-old former officer as the sole defendant in the suit, which argues she used excessive force and that better police training could have prevented Jean's death. It makes a large financial settlement unlikely.

In her brief ruling, Lynn wrote that she was upholding a magistrate judge's decision and dismissing the city from the case because the suit failed "to state a claim upon which relief can be granted."

Guyger was found guilty of murder for Jean's death and sentenced to a decade in prison in October.

Botham Jean, Amber Guyger
Botham Jean, left, and Amber Guyger. AP

Botham Jean, 26, an accountant from the Caribbean island nation of St. Lucia, had been eating a bowl of ice cream when Guyger entered his home and shot him.

Guyger gave tearful testimony at trial saying she mistook Jean's apartment for her own, one floor below, and thought he was an intruder.
 
The family's lawsuit claimed better training on the part of the Dallas Police Department could have spared Jean's life, accusing the department of adopting a protocol of "shoot first and ask questions later," reported the Dallas Morning News.

"Essentially, Officer Guyger was ill-trained, and as a result, defaulted to the defective DPD policy: to use deadly force even when there existed no immediate threat of harm to themselves or others," the lawsuit stated.

Gesture of compassion from Botham Jean's brother sparks discussion of forgiveness and racial justice

A lawyer for Jean's family did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Guyger had faced up to 99 years in prison, and her 10-year sentence was blasted by critics who argued it was too light. But Jean's 18-year-old brother Brandt Jean, addressing Guyger directly in court, said he loved her and gave her a hug in widely-publicized act of forgiveness.

"I am not going to say I hope you die just like my brother did… I personally want the best for you," Brandt Jean said. "I don't even want you to go to jail… because that's exactly what Botham would want."

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