Dallas officials trying to keep public records sealed in Amber Guyger investigation

The city of Dallas and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office are trying to keep public records in the Botham Jean shooting investigation from being released.

The city and the DA's office have asked the Texas attorney general for permission not to release now-fired Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger's 911 call and personnel file.

The city has received 41 requests for everything ranging from the former officer's personnel file to 911 calls made after the shooting to what time she clocked in and out the day of the shooting. The city attorney's office is seeking to deny them all.

Nearly one month later, a cloud of mystery still surrounds Jean’s shooting death by Guyger, who was off-duty at the time.

"The reason this is an international story is the lack of transparency,” said Dallas City Councilman and Vice Chair of the Public Safety Committee, Philip Kingston. “The appearance that they were trying to create special treatment for Officer Guyger."

Kingston believes the city should release public records related to the shooting and the now-fired officer.

“The only reason this routine information should not be readily available is if it can truly affect the outcome of an ongoing investigation,” the councilman said. “If it can, then someone needs to explain how.”

While that is the city's argument, it's letter does not explain how the investigation might be affected. As for the personnel file, the city cites laws that prevent the release of information that could be embarrassing, like birth dates. However, FOX 4 request said that confidential information like that could be redacted.

Daryl Washington is an attorney for Jean's family. He says it feels like there is a double standard.

“People always feel police are given special privileges that regular citizens are not,” Washington said. “Whenever there is evidence that will make the officer appear that they did something right, that information is released to the public almost immediately. 

First Assistant District Attorney Mike Snipes says releasing the 911 calls before the trial could cause potential jurors to form an opinion about the case. He said: "We don't want to have the venue shifted out of Dallas County.”

“If you can keep John Wiley Price case here in Dallas County with the publicity that had, then I don't see why this case would ever be moved out of Dallas,” Washington said.

The Dallas city attorney's office said that it could not comment on the denial of the open records requests. It is now up the Texas attorney general's office to decide if the information is required to be released. The office has 45 business days to issue a decision.