Botham Jean’s family, local activists call for changes at DPD

Botham Jean’s family gathered Friday with pastors and Mothers Against Police Brutality to call for changes in the Dallas Police Department.

The Jean family also spoke about the moments that became the talk of the nation at the end of Amber Guyger's murder trial.

Allison Jean said she hopes "meaningful change" comes out of her son's death, and supports a Department of Justice investigation into the Dallas Police Department.

Friday was also the first time we heard from Botham's younger brother following the hug that was felt around the world.

“At the time, I didn't know the cameras were on,” 18-year-old Brandt Jean recalled.

Brandt reflected on the spur of the moment decision to hug Guyger, saying it was not his intent to create a made-for-TV moment.

He spoke about the sudden request during victim impact statements that even caught the judge off guard.

“After the sentencing, I saw Amber's family leave the room along with Amber, and we left and came back,” Brandt explained. “Upon coming back, I didn't think any cameras were on. I thought it was over because we had the conviction, we had the sentencing.”

Brandt said he had no intention of even making a statement to Guyger, but felt compelled to at the last minute, and that now historic hug followed.

“I said what I had to say. I meant what I said and I thank God that I had the courage to say it,” he said.

Brandt declined to say what Guyger whispered in his ear during that unforgettable moment of compassion.

“And as we’re captured by a beautiful hug, let’s not lose sight of all the hugs that can happen no more,” said Omar Soleiman, a civil rights activist

At Friday's news conference, Jean's family joined Dallas faith leaders in calling on the U.S. Justice Department to audit the Dallas Police Department.

The family filed a lawsuit last year for wrongful death and civil rights violations.

Jean was shot and killed last year by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger. She was convicted of murder this week and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Guyger said she went into Jean’s apartment by mistake, thinking it was her own. She shot him because she thought he was an intruder.

Botham Jean's mother said she has mixed feeling about the city of Dallas.

A place where Botham Jean came to make a life for himself, but didn't get the chance, after he was shot dead inside his own apartment.

“It’s very painful to come to Dallas. Because I came when Botham was alive. I spent three weeks with Botham. I paid for that red mat. I paid for that ironing board and the bar stools that we saw in his apartment. So every time I pass on Lamar Street it’s very, very, very painful,” said Allison Jean, his mother. “I don’t know that I want to be back in Dallas. Dallas robbed me of my son. But I don’t see everyone in Dallas as an Amber Guyger. I think there are decent people in Dallas. And I wish every one of you well. But it’s very painful to come back to the place that my son loved yet still he was killed here.”

Jean’s mom said she doesn’t want to hear anything more from Dallas Police Chief Rene Hall. She just wants to see the department make changes.

“Talk but no action means nothing,” Allison Jean said.

She added that the mercy her younger son showed to Guyger can only come after justice.

Jean said that while her family may be headed back to St. Lucia, she still plans to keep tabs on any developments here as it relates to the Dallas Police Department.

The DOJ has not said if it plans to open an investigation into DPD.

At the news conference, community activists also issued other broad demands in addition to a Justice Department investigation.

They want Chief Hall to investigate, again, a list of past officer-involved shootings.

They also urged city and state politicians to refuse endorsements from the Dallas Police Association in order to create an environment of what they call "nonpolitical policing."

“God, we are here today in community seeking change – radical change – so that all people in this city can experience justice, equity and fairness,” added Dr. Irie Session, a local pastor.

Overnight, Guyger was released from the Dallas County jail and turned over to the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to begin her prison sentence.

It’s not yet clear which prison Guyger will serve her sentence in.