Dallas County Bucks Trend, Prosecutes Police Officers

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Indicting cops on murder charges is rare. Even rarer is the police officer convicted of murder. Dallas County has been bucking the national trend, reports the Dallas Morning News. Since 2016, four Dallas-area police officers have been indicted on murder charges. The two who have been tried so far were convicted and sent to prison. A third, Amber Guyger, faces trial Monday in the Sept. 6, 2018, killing of Botham Jean, a 26-year-old accountant who was shot in his apartment. The four-year  police veteran, who has been fired, was off-duty but still in uniform when she confused his apartment for hers, mistook him for a burglar and shot him with her service weapon, she told authorities.

There is a tie that binds the cases of officers who have been convicted of murder or manslaughter, says criminologist Philip Stinson of Ohio’s Bowling Green State University. “In order to obtain a conviction,” he said, “the facts of the incident have to be so bizarre that they can’t be rationally explained at trial.” In the past two years, Dallas County juries made history by convicting two former cops, sending both to prison for murdering two unarmed teenage boys. In 2017, Ken Johnson, an off-duty Farmers Branch police officer, was found guilty for killing one teen and seriously wounding another after they broke into his SUV in 2016. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison. In 2018, former Balch Springs officer Roy Oliver was convicted of murder and sentenced to 15 years in prison for the on-duty killing of Jordan Edwards, an unarmed 15-year-old boy shot as he left a party in a car with four other black teens.

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