Texas Officials Finally Pass The Botham Jean Act and It’s About Time

After an unarmed Black man was killed in his apartment by an off-duty police officer in Texas, a new law may be passed that will hold all police officers accountable for their actions.

According to a press release from Rep. Carl O. Sherman’s office, the Texas House of Representatives has passed a bill that would place “systemic accountability” in terms of policing in honor of police shooting victim Botham Jean.

Jean was killed by Amber Guyger, a former Dallas police officer who fatally shot him in his apartment. Guyger is serving 10 years in prison for the crime committed on Sept. 6, 2018. She testified in court that she mistook Jean for an intruder when she erroneously entered his apartment, on another floor, claiming to think it was her apartment, after working a shift. Guyger, 32, who was in uniform at the time but was off-duty, shot and killed Jean with her service weapon while he was eating a bowl of ice cream in his home. 

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Sherman presented legislation for House Bill 929 (which is better known as Bo’s Law). After a vote in the House, House Bill 929 passed as 64 Democrats and 34 Republicans voted in favor of it.

“I am thankful that we are continuing to work from a place of bi-partisanship and that we have found a common ground to move Bo’s Law into law in the State of Texas. I also want to thank House Speaker Dade Phelan for his support,” Rep. Sherman stated in a written statement.

He also added that Bo’s Law is about “more systemic accountability in policing. We want to make sure all the evidence is there to uphold the integrity of policing as a profession and not redact or edit out footage. In keeping with the spirit of the young man who HB929 was named after, ‘Let the spirit of Botham Jean continue to rise among us.’”

The bill is now headed to the Senate.