DALLAS — The mother of a black man who was gunned down at his home by a white Dallas police officer who said she mistook his apartment for her own suggested that her son might still be alive if he were white.
“I didn’t know she was white until now. If it was a white man would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently?” Jean said Friday in footage broadcast by Dallas’ NBC affiliate, KXAS .
Authorities have said the officer is white, but haven’t released her name or other details about her.
Dallas’ police chief, U. Renee Hall, said Friday that her department was seeking to charge the officer with manslaughter. But she said Saturday during a criminal justice panel livestreamed on Facebook that the Texas Rangers, who took over the case, asked her department to hold off issuing an arrest warrant because they needed more time to look into information the officer provided during an interview with investigators.
“The ball is in their court,” Hall said. She acknowledged that many questions remain about the shooting and asked the public to give investigators enough time to get to the answers.
A lawyer for Jean’s family said Saturday after a prayer vigil at a Dallas church that an arrest warrant should be issued for the officer.
“This family is frustrated. This family is upset,” attorney Lee Merritt said. “This family is grieving that that has not happened yet,” he said of the wait for investigators to act.
Dozens of people, including his mother, attended the vigil at the Dallas West Church of Christ.
The Department of Public Safety, which oversees the Texas Rangers, didn’t immediately reply to a Saturday phone message seeking comment about the investigation.
Hall said Friday that the officer’s blood was drawn to be tested for drugs and alcohol.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said Saturday that the shooting is a “very serious situation” for the city and described Botham Jean as a young professional and man of faith who was “exactly the sort of citizen we want to have.”
He also said Hall was right to ask the Texas Rangers to take over the case.
Allison Jean, who has held government posts in St. Lucia, where she lives and where her son grew up, said her son’s death “just feels like a nightmare.”
The island country’s government issued a statement Friday expressing “shock” at the killing and extending condolences to the Jean family. It said officials at its embassy in the United States would provide assistance to the family.
Botham Jean attended Harding University in Arkansas and, after graduating in 2016, he had been living and working in Dallas at accounting and consulting firm PwC. The private school said Friday that he often led campus worship services while he was a student.
Family and friends described Jean as a devout Christian and a talented singer. His uncle Ignatius Jean said the slaying left relatives devastated and looking for answers.
“You want to think it’s fiction ... and you have to grapple with the reality,” he said.