DALLAS - The Dallas mayor declared Tuesday #BeLikeBo Day in honor of the late Botham Jean.
Tuesday would have been Jean's 29th birthday.
However, the Jean family says it has an issue with how it was handled.
Absent from the mayor's proclamation event Tuesday were the Jean family members who are currently visiting Dallas from out of town. Only Botham's pastor joined the mayor.
Botham was killed in 2018 when fired Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger shot him inside his apartment, mistaking him for an intruder in hers. She was convicted of murder last year.
Botham’s family is in town for the screening of a docuseries about his murder. Their attorney says the family feels slighted by the mayor for not being invited to attend the reading of a proclamation in Botham's name. The mayor's office calls it a miscommunication.
Botham Jean family attorney Lee Merritt had harsh words for Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson.
“It shows a real dearth of leadership by Eric Johnson. He should be ashamed of himself,” Merritt said.
Botham's parents and sister, who are in Dallas to attend the screening of a docuseries about Botham's 2018 murder, are upset they could not attend a proclamation given by the mayor at city hall Tuesday on what would have been Botham's 29th birthday.
“I am proud to proclaim today September 29th as Be Like Bo Day in the city of Dallas,” Johnson said.
“We would you consider it a direct slide and not just poor intention because he had ample notice ahead of time that the family was present. That the family wanted to participate,” Merritt said.
A spokesperson for the mayor said Johnson was unaware the Jean family would be in Dallas.
A statement said in part: "he invited brother Sammie Berry, Botham's pastor and a liaison to the Jean family, to speak in their place."
A reporter asked brother Berry if he'd spoken to the family and what was their reaction to the proclamation.
“Yes, I have been in contact with the family, and it’s unfortunate that they're not able to actually be present here to today to receive it,” Berry said. “But certainly, Be Like Bo Day is something that the family does annually.”
“To celebrate his birthday without him is hard. It’s very hard,” said Allisa Findley, Botham’s sister. “I honestly don’t want to be here. I want to be curled up in a corner crying missing my brother.”
"The Impact of Murder," which was screened at the Black Academy of Arts and Letters in Dallas on Tuesday night, explores Botham Jean's case.
Despite the issue with Mayor Johnson, the family says they're grateful to be here in Dallas. His parents say there's still so much more work to be done.
“I really thought that would’ve been the last black person we saw killed by police,” said Allison Jean, Botham’s mother. “But since then, we’ve seen so many more.”
“We are hurting, and we know that there are those in Dallas hurting as well,” said Bertram Jean, Botham’s father. “Law enforcement should protect. That’s what they’re there for.”
In the mayor's proclamation, he urged Texans to "#BeLikeBo and strive to make positive change in the lives of others." That is one sentiment he and Botham's family agree on.