A Dallas judge Monday defended her decision to hug convicted killer Amber Guyger and give her a bible, asserting that Guyger requested the embrace, according to US media reports.
Judge Tammy Kemp has been accused of violating ethics and engaging in religious coercion.
Both she and Brandt Jean hugged the former Dallas cop who was sentenced to ten years in jail for the killing Brandt’s brother, Botham Jean.
The gestures sparked a social media firestorm, attracting both criticism and praise.
However as reported by NBC News, Kemp said she felt her actions were acceptable because the embrace came after all official proceedings had been completed.
“Had you witnessed the person who was hurting as Miss Guyger was, I don’t know a person who would have denied her that human contact,” the Judge was quoted as telling the Associated Press.
Kemp told the the news agency that Guyger asked twice if she could give her a hug.
“And she asked me if I thought her life could still have purpose,” Kemp said. “And I said absolutely.”
Kemp then said she went to get her bible and encouraged Guyger to read bible verses after the former officer said she wouldn’t know where to begin to change her life.
“And then she requested of me, a hug. And, I’m embarrassed to say, I didn’t say yes right away,” Kemp is reported to have said.
“She asked me a second time and between those asks I was reminded about my responsibility to show love and compassion,” she stated in an interview with the Associated Press.
The judge said she didn’t want to see Guyger “sink into doubt and self-pity” in prison.
One of Guyger’s Attorneys, Toby Shook, was quoted as telling The Dallas Morning News on Monday that he saw nothing wrong with Kemp’s actions after the sentence.
He called it a “perfect display of compassion” for Guyger, who he said was at the lowest point of her life., the publication reported.
As for the presentation of the bible, Shook explained that the former cop was the one that first expressed wanting a Bible.