There are many questions still surrounding the shooting death of Botham Jean at the hands of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger, who claimed she mistook the 26-year-old for an intruder after mistakenly barging into his apartment.
For instance, why has Guyger been charged with manslaughter instead of murder?
How is she still technically a police officer and has not been fired from her job?
The question of Guyger’s employment was brought up Tuesday night at a town hall meeting at Paul Quinn College where Chief Renee Hall took questions from the community surrounding the shooting.
“I can’t do that because there are both local, state and federal laws that prohibit me from taking action,” Hall claimed at the meeting, according to WFAA. “There are civil service laws we have to adhere to.”
Which now leads to another question: what laws are those? It is unclear what laws Hall was referring to, though she promised to release copies of the said laws.
But Justin Moore, a civil rights attorney who was on the panel at the meeting voiced surprise over the chief’s declaration.
“I was completely mystified, and I really didn’t understand where it came from last night. It seemed like Chief Hall might not have been well informed on the law,” Moore told the news station.
And according to the Dallas Police Department general orders, it seems as if Hall could have used her own discretion to take the actions she deemed necessary.
“The Chief of Police may circumvent all formal disciplinary procedures to render an immediate decision when he/she deems it necessary to preserve the integrity of the department,” the orders read, as cited by the news station.
When an officer is under criminal investigation, an internal investigation is typically conducted. However as chief, Hall technically can order that the internal investigation be expedited. Also, nothing has stopped other police chiefs across the state, and even in Dallas from firing others while they are under criminal investigation.
“There is nothing that prevents a police chief from firing somebody on the spot or at least launching an internal affairs investigation,” Moore insisted.
When asked about the laws Chief Hall quoted, the Dallas Police Department did not provide WFAA with any, however the department did note the general order, adding, “General order 508 refers to the Police Chief’s ability to circumvent the formal disciplinary procedures not the investigative process.”