SMU students comment on the firing of Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger

A Dallas police officer was fired after fatally shooting a man in his own apartment earlier this month. His death has led to numerous strikes and protests in the Dallas area. There are mixed opinions about whether or not the officer should have been fired, but students at SMU shared the same opinion for the most part.

The officer, Amber Guyger, killed her neighbor, Botham Jean, after entering his apartment. She mistook his apartment for her own and shot him assuming he was a burglar. Guyger had been on administrative leave until Sept. 24 when Chief U. Renee Hall decided to fire Guyger with support from Dallas’ Mayor Mike Rawlings. The officer’s recent termination has gained attention and sparked debate throughout the Dallas area and on SMU’s campus.

“I believe it was right to fire the officer when the chief did, otherwise it would have made the department look like they did not care about the injustice that was done,” Sophomore Megan Molthan said.

This incident has altered some student’s thoughts on law enforcement in general.

“I think it shows how reckless cops can be. I think their recklessness and mistakes are caused by a constant fear for their own lives,” sophomore Foster Counts said. “They work a job that’s very risky and fear is only natural. If they were to change their culture and act in a less threatening manner, I think they could make dramatic changes in our society.”

Others believe that the firing should not have happened as quickly as it did. The President of the Dallas Police Association, Michael Mata, was not aware that Guyger had been fired at first because he was told that she could not be fired until the entire investigation was complete, yet four days later the officer was terminated.

Chief Hall “bowed to the pressure from anti-police groups and took action before all of the facts had been gathered and due process was afforded,” Guyger’s attorney Robert Rogers wrote.

Following Guyger’s termination, Jean’s family announced plans to sue the city of Dallas and the former officer. They are still pushing to move her charge from manslaughter to murder.