Transcript, Web links and Credits below.
Two of the most important trials of our lifetime are underway right now. You don’t need me to tell you that justice is clearly hard to come by, and I know we’ve hoped for justice hundreds of times, only to be rejected in the end. But I think in each of these cases we have a real chance at justice.
Today I’m going to break down the murder trials of the police officers who shot and killed Botham Jean in Dallas and Anthony Hill outside of Atlanta.
This is Shaun King and you are listening to The Breakdown!
Today is going to be the fifth day of the trial of Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger. And here’s the thing – if she gets off – anybody can get off. She walked right into the home of a brilliant, compassionate, intelligent, young Black man named Botham Jean and shot and killed this young brother in his own home.
I’ve become good friends with Botham’s family. I’ll be speaking in Dallas this Sunday at a gala that they are hosting. They’ve been to my home and we’ve laughed and cried together. His parents poured their heart and soul into raising him. He came to the United States from St. Lucia and hit the ground running – becoming an award-winning executive at PriceWaterhouseCooper.
And if an officer can walk into any of our homes and simply shoot and kill us for no reason whatsoever, then we’re in a world of trouble. This officer, Amber Guyger, is not only a murderer, she’s a stone-cold liar. I’ve counted at least a dozen different lies that she’s told – including the horrible lie that after she entered Botham’s apartment that he charged after her – that never happened. It literally never happened.
Botham, when he was shot and killed, was sitting on the couch eating ice cream when she barged into his apartment and she shot and killed him right there next to the couch. He didn’t charge after her; when he died, when the paramedics arrived, he was still right there in that spot.
Amber Guyger lied and said that she shouted orders at him, as if she was a police officer entering a crime scene. She didn’t shout a single word. Six different people have now testified that she said nothing before she shot him. And they testified that those walls in this apartment building are paper thin. People said you could hear everything, you could hear a conversation in the next apartment over and now six different people testified that she barged in and shot him without saying a single word.
And after Amber Guyger shot Botham in his own apartment, she didn’t try to help him, not even a little bit. She started texting her boyfriend, who also happened to be her partner on the force, and started calling in police that she knew could help her. She wasn’t thinking about Botham, she was only thinking about herself.
And before I tell you about the next trial – let me tell you what else I know – and it’s a difference maker. In this case they have a brilliant Black judge, Judge Kemp. And she has been amazing. Fair, firm, but when I say fair, I mean genuinely fair in every way, and we need to be electing judges like her all over Dallas and all over the country. It matters. We actually helped to elect the District Attorney there in Dallas, but we need to have influence in all areas of America’s legal system.
Let me tell you about the next trial that’s underway. (Break it down music)
Yesterday, in Decatur, Georgia, just about 10 miles outside of Atlanta, the murder trial of Dekalb County Police Officer Robert Olsen began. This man should have started years ago. He been found guilty years ago. In 2015, he shot and killed a special young brother named Anthony Hill. Anthony was a brilliant musician and singer and was a brave Afghanistan war veteran who came back home fighting through mental health challenges. After Anthony changed medications, he had a mental health crisis, and people called the police in the neighborhood. Not because Anthony was threatening anybody, but because they knew him, and they knew that something was horribly wrong. They saw him struggling and needed to go to the hospital. Yesterday half a dozen different people in the neighborhood said they weren’t afraid of Anthony. They were heartbroken because he was clearly having a medical emergency.
People in that neighborhood knew him and loved him, families and kids alike. But Anthony had stripped off all of his clothes and according to people in the neighborhood he appeared to be completely lost. Many people testified that Anthony was apologizing to people who saw him, and they knew that he was having a mental health crisis. They were not afraid for themselves, they were afraid for him.
And there’s not another number to call, and so when people called 9-1-1 to report a mental health crisis the police showed up. And they did not give Anthony the courtesy or time that they always give heavily armed white mass murderers. Literally, I could tell you case after case of white men who are armed with assault rifles who have just shot and killed dozens of people and police are patient and are willing to wait it out. But they showed no such patience to Anthony that day. Anthony, who served this country, and needed help, needed a doctor, needed a hospital, would not hurt a soul, was instead shot and killed on contact by Robert Olsen.
And Robert Olsen can’t say that he thought Anthony was reaching for a gun. He was completely nude. He can’t say that they had a struggle and Anthony went for his gun. Anthony never touched that man. The family needs justice. The community needs justice. And we all need a conviction in this case. And not only do we need a conviction, every city and county in this country needs to completely overhaul how it handles mental health emergencies. Doctors and nurses handle men like Anthony every single day without harming them. But when you send a cop to handle a situation like this, this happens over and over again. And some studies actually say that as many as 50% of people who are shot and killed by police were in the middle of a mental health crisis.
I’m standing with the activist community in Atlanta, Decatur, I’m standing Anthony’s family today. And we are hoping not only for a good, fair trial, but we’re hoping for a conviction. Let me break down one last story for you today.
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Lastly, I want to give all of our listeners an update on the horrible case of the two 6-year-old children who were arrested at their elementary school in Orlando, Florida. We just learned yesterday that in spite of previous lies that came from the school and the school system, trying to blame the entire ordeal on the police officer – we learned from the police report that the Assistant Principal there literally said that she wanted the kids arrested and that she wanted to file charges against them.
And as much as the county and the school wants to blame all of this on the police, they have to own this problem as well. And here’s what I know: since I last reported on this case on Tuesday, parents all over the country have reached out to tell me about similar incidents in their cities. And I would like for us to see presidential candidates even address not just address this issue, but address the over policing of children in our schools and announce policies they would have, national policies they would have, that deal with this directly.
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Produced by Willis Polk II
Additional Instrumentation by Christian “Idrys” Shannon, Lance “Lance Fury” Powlis & Markeith Black
Additional Engineering by Amond “AJ” Jackson for Salem Psalms Library
Additional Vocals by Garnett “Natti” Bush & Jason Coffey
Scratches by Kenny “DJ FlipFlop” Vanderberg
Contains elements from:
“The Prodigal” by Justme