Botham Jean Act would clarify the Texas ‘Castle Doctrine’
Ministers from Churches of Christ on Monday joined Texas lawmakers…
Updated: June 18, 2021: Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott signed the Botham Jean Act, HB 929, into law on Wednesday.
Rep. Carl Sherman, author of the bill, released a statement saying, “This law affectionately known forever as Bo’s Law will help to remove bad officers from Texas streets.
“Bo’s Law is good for good officers and good for good citizens regardless of color.”
Original story, from May 25, 2021 below.
Texas House Bill 929 — also known as Bo’s Law — was passed by the Texas Senate late Monday night, sending the measure to the governor’s desk for final approval.
The Botham Jean Act, authored by Rep. Carl Sherman Sr., would require police officers’ body cameras to remain on throughout the course of an investigation. It would also clarify exceptions to the state’s body camera requirements.
The measure narrowly made it to the Senate. It was passed by the Texas House of Representatives earlier this month, about a half hour before the legislature’s cutoff deadline for new bills.
Rep. Sherman said the law is about “more systemic accountability in policing. We want to make sure all the evidence is there to uphold the integrity of policing as a profession and not redact or edit out footage.”
The measure gained bipartisan support — with 64 Democrats and 34 Republicans voting in favor of it in the House. In the Senate it passed with none of the senators voting against it.
In reaction to the passing of the bill, Allison Jean, Botham Jean’s mother, said, “We deem this a tremendous step in seeking to correct some of the systemic issues that plague our society and cause corrupt police officers to walk away scotch-free after committing heinous acts on innocent people.”
“I am thankful that we are continuing to work from a place of bipartisanship and that we have found a common ground to move Bo’s Law into law in the State of Texas.” Sherman said.
Jean, 26, was a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Ark., and a member of the Dallas West Church of Christ. He was shot inside his Dallas apartment on Sept. 6, 2018, by off-duty Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who lived in the same apartment building. Guyger said she mistakenly entered Jean’s apartment, thinking it was hers, and mistook Jean for a burglar. Nearly 13 months after the shooting, on Oct. 1, 2019, Guyger was convicted of murder. She is now serving a 10-year sentence.
The bill originally would have altered the state’s “castle doctrine” — also known as a stand-your-ground law that allows someone to use deadly force against an intruder on their own property. However, changes were made before it passed out of committee. Sherman’s office said that part of the bill was added to another measure.
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