Last week, former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, was convicted of murder in the September 2018 shooting death of 26-year-old Botham Jean as he sat in his apartment.
Guyger, who said she mistakenly entered the wrong apartment and shot Jean because she believed he was an intruder, received a 10 year sentence.
Botham Jean’s brother Brandt, who is 18, gave a powerful victim impact statementt on forgiveness and asked for a hug afterwards, which Judge Tammy Kemp okayed after a few seconds of consideration of the request.
Not long after Brandt Jean gave his statement, Judge Kemp walked over to his family and consoled them over their loss. But she also walked over to Guyger and spoke with her for a few moments before retreating and then returning with a Bible. She talked to Guyger about John 3:16, and told Gugyger that God had already forgiven her after Gugyer asked if He ever would.
Watch their interaction below:
In her first public comments since the trial, Kemp was unapologetic in the face of criticism:
… Kemp said she felt her actions were appropriate since the trial was over and the former officer told her she didn’t know how to begin seeking God’s forgiveness.
“If she wanted to start with the Bible, I didn’t want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter,” she said. “Because she still has a lot of life ahead of her following her sentence and I would hope that she could live it purposefully.”
Kemp said that Guyger asked twice if she could hug her as well and, after a moment’s hesitation, the judge wrapped her arms around the former police officer.
“Following my own convictions, I could not refuse that woman a hug. I would not,” said Kemp, who is black. “And I don’t understand the anger. And I guess I could say if you profess religious beliefs and you are going to follow them, I would hope that they not be situational and limited to one race only.”
What a refreshing way to look at things. Nice work, Judge Kemp.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 15+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –