“Why would this even matter?”
A Dallas Fox news station has been accused of criminalizing Botham Jean — the 26-year-old man killed in his own apartment after a police officer mistook his home for hers — after tweeting a report about how marijuana was found in his apartment.
On Thursday, Fox 4 obtained a copy of an unsealed police affidavit, which included a report of what was found inside Jean’s apartment. Although numerous were discovered during the search, the news station highlighted one finding in particular — 10.4 grams of marijuana.
The station then tweeted the following: “DEVELOPING: Search warrant: Marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment after deadly shooting.”
— FOX 4 NEWS (@FOX4) September 13, 2018
Many people on the internet took offense to the tweet, arguing that not only was the information irrelevant to the case but that the station was criminalizing and smearing Jean.
“WHY WOULD THIS EVEN MATTER? They are trying to find every little aspect of Botham Jean’s life that will justify his life being taken but in reality there is NOT ONE THING THAT CAN! The officer that killed him should be the one being evaluated,” one person wrote.
WHY WOULD THIS EVEN MATTER? They are trying to find every little aspect of Botham Jeans life that will justify his life being taken but in reality there is NOT ONE THING THAT CAN! The officer that killed him should be the one being evaluated. #RestInPower https://t.co/5WmWg8BKEF
— Arieyanna Williams (@YannaWilliams20) September 13, 2018
Even Dana Loesch, the NRA spokeswoman who recently faced criticisms of her own after saying that Jean might still be alive if he was a “law-abiding gun owner,” took offense to the framing of the tweet.
How is this germane to what happened? https://t.co/83LrJMHztu
— Dana Loesch (@DLoesch) September 13, 2018
“How is this germane to what happened?” she tweeted.
Even some celebrities criticized the tweet, including Questlove.
“I’ll take what is ‘but he’s no angel Alex’ for $500 (actually wait it just hit me is DPD releasing this information? Like we sayin ‘damn he smoked weed he deserved to die!’ Smh,” The Roots drummer tweeted.
I’ll take “what is “but he’s no angel Alex” for $500 (actually wait it just hit me is DPD releasing this information? Like we sayin “damn he smoked weed he deserved to die!” Smh https://t.co/kgCvpH8Lf9
— Qurley? (@questlove) September 14, 2018
Although the tweet still exists, the station has since changed the titled of the story to read “Lawyers ‘disgusted’ by release search warrant showing marijuana found in Botham Jean’s apartment.”
Lee Merritt, the attorney representing Jean’s family, criticized the searching of Jean’s apartment too.
“They went in with the intent to look for some sort of criminal justification for the victim,” Merritt said to Dallas ABC-affiliated TV station WFAA. “It’s a pattern that we’ve seen before…we have a cop who clearly did something wrong. And instead of investigating the homicide — instead of going into her apartment and seeing what they can find, instead of collecting evidence relevant for the homicide investigation — they went out specifically looking for ways to tarnish the image of this young man.”
Recently, the cop who shot Jean, Amber Guyger, said that Jean didn’t listen to her “verbal commands” before fatally shooting him. She also said that the apartment door was left ajar and that the room was completely dark when she fired. It was only after the shooting that she turned on the lights and realized she was in the wrong apartment.
Guyger has been charged with manslaughter and will face a grand jury.