Judge Tammy Kemp came down from the bench, spoke with Guyger, gave her a Bible, and hugged her.
According to reports, there was a mixture of boos and cheers outside of the courtroom.
Inside of the courtroom, Botham’s brother Brandt Jean hugged and forgave Guyger, saying:
I’m not going to say I hope you rot and die, just like my brother — I personally want the best for you…I wasn’t going to say this in front of my family or anyone, but I don’t even want you to go to jail. I want the best for you, because I know that’s exactly what Botham would want.
This is the moment. A moment so very few have ever witnessed. The brother of a murder victim asking the judge to hug the person who took his brothers life. #AmberGuygerTrial #BothamJean pic.twitter.com/HSYEqpIzjx
— Doug Dunbar (@cbs11doug) October 2, 2019
Then something strange happened: Judge Tammy Kemp came down from the bench, spoke and then embraced some of Jean’s family members. She then spoke with Guyger, gave her a Bible, and hugged her also.
Moments after Brandt Jean said he forgave Amber Guyger for killing his brother Botham Jean, Judge Tammy Kemp emerged from her chambers to give Gugyer a Bible. “You just need a tiny mustard seed of faith,” the judge said. “You start with this.” More: https://t.co/hm1VSFp9Tv pic.twitter.com/F6bdTFkdpf
— WFAA (@wfaa) October 3, 2019
The gesture had a highly divisive reaction on social media:
I woke up wondering did I dream this. Altho I think several of her rulings were incorrect, I thought Judge Tammy Kemp did an excellent job presiding over trial—until this. This is judicial misconduct, not appropriate for a judge to EVER assign bible study in court. wth https://t.co/P0x5oIAD2y
— elisabeth epps is tired. (@elisabeth) October 3, 2019
Does Judge Kemp hug everyone she’s sentenced to prison or just Amber Guyger? Unless that’s how she treats everyone, and I doubt that it is, then the hug strikes me as inappropriate and unprofessional. Why does Guyger, a heinous murderer, deserve a nice hug from her judge?
— Touré (@Toure) October 3, 2019
Need Judge Tammy Kemp to hug every defendant after a murder conviction now. After ever conviction period. Black and brown defendants need to feel that love too at their lowest moments.
— Eddie (@DocTaughtMe) October 2, 2019
Amber Guyger murdered Botham Jean.
The jury gave her 10 years.
The judge hugged her.
The victim’s brother hugged her.
A police officer in court brushed her hair.
The Message: White women’s lives are valuable. Black men’s lives are not.pic.twitter.com/TuxMzhheRm
— Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) October 2, 2019
Jean’s parents had a more complicated reaction to Guyger’s sentence. Bertrum Jean, the father of Botham Jean, said he wanted a more severe sentence for Guyger. But, also added that he agreed with Brandt about forgiving her, saying “I don’t want to see her rot in hell. I don’t want to see her rot in prison.”
In an interview with CBS News, Botham’s mother, Allison Jean, said about Brandt forgiving her: “What he did today, was remarkable, and he did it all on his own…What Brandt did was to cleanse his heart towards Amber … I do not want it to be misconstrued as a complete forgiveness of everybody.”
In another interview, she also called out police corruption.
Botham Jeans mother calling out police corruption. You won’t spin this into so Black forgiveness story.
— George M Johnson (@IamGMJohnson) October 3, 2019