Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Botham Jean Act Signed Into Law

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DALLAS — Gov. Greg Abbott just signed HB 929, also known as The Botham Jean Act or “Bo’s Law,” into law Wednesday night. It will be effective starting Sept. 1.

The law will now make it an offense for police to turn off body cameras during investigations, among other moves for transparency.

State Rep. Carl O. Sherman tweeted the law was signed Wednesday night.

The new law, also known as Bo’s Law, was named in honor of the Dallas accountant murdered in his own apartment by an off-duty Dallas police officer in 2018.

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During the 87th Texas Legislative Session, the bill passed both chambers at the Texas Capitol with bipartisan support in late May.

State Rep. Carl Sherman, of DeSoto, authored the bill in response to Jean’s murder. He announced Wednesday evening that the bill was signed by Gov. Greg Abbott.

“It will mean that now we will have more systemic accountability with police officers being required to turn on their cameras and keep it on for the duration of the investigation,” Sherman said last month. “Will we have improvements each session? I believe so.”

The accountant and church praise leader was eating ice cream and watching TV when former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger entered his apartment and fatally shot him — later telling jurors during her criminal trial that she mistook his apartment for her own on another floor.

She was convicted and sentenced to 10 years in prison in 2019 but has since appealed the conviction.

Guyger’s body camera was not recording during the shooting because she was off duty. However, there were questions raised about the lack of camera footage from responding officers.

Sherman said he will continue to push for police reform in future sessions.

“It’s a game of inches,” Sherman said. “But we’ve got to keep pushing forward, keep getting gains and we will continue to fight for more change.”

“Today, I am proud to announce that the governor signed HB 929, The Botham Jean Act “Bo’s Law” into law. Bo’s Law is intended to create systemic accountability in policing,” he wrote.

An earlier version of the initial bill of Bo’s Law would have clarified the state’s castle doctrine and eliminate loopholes used for some defenses.

The final version of the law only clarifies procedures for body cameras and bodycam footage.

“A policy described by Subsection (a) must require a peace officer who is equipped with a body worn camera and actively participating in an investigation to keep the camera activated for the entirety of the officer’s active participation in the investigation unless the camera has been deactivated in compliance with that policy,” the law’s text states.

In September 2018, Jean, who was 26 years old at the time, was shot and killed by Amber Guyger in his own apartment.

Guyger was an off-duty Dallas police officer who said she entered Jean’s apartment believing it was her own.

A year later, Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for his murder.

Since Botham Jean’s death, the North Texas community has done several things to commemorate his life and legacy.

In March 2021, Jean’s loved ones, civil rights leaders, and clergy honored him at the special ceremony and sign unveiling in front of the Canvas Hotel, at 1325 S. Lamar Street. Part of Lamar Street was renamed.

Mayor Eric Johnson also proclaimed March 27, 2021, as Botham Shem Jean Day.

And in September 2020, Jean’s family asked the community to “Be Like Bo” and do something for someone else, in honor of what would’ve been Botham’s 29th birthday.

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Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
Our Editorial Staff at St. Lucia Times is a team publishing news and other articles to over 200,000 regular monthly readers in Saint Lucia and in over 150 other countries worldwide.

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