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Judge reverses previous ruling, says Botham Jean's family can file amended lawsuit against City of Dallas

Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling that the family of Botham Jean could move forward with a civil rights lawsuit against the City once they file an amended suit

A district court judge reversed a previous decision to dismiss a civil lawsuit against the City of Dallas over the death of Botham Jean. 

Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling that the family of Botham Jean could move forward with a civil rights lawsuit against the City once they file an amended suit.

"This important decision will allow the family of Botham Jean an opportunity to once again try and hold the City of Dallas accountable for its failures in training officers on appropriate use of force," said Lee Merritt, who is an attorney for the family.

Lynn is the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas. The judge had initially ruled on Dec. 26, 2019 to dismiss the case against the city. Jean's attorneys amended the complaint in January of 2020 and re-filed the claim. 

Attorney Lee Merritt told WFAA the newly amended claim was based off sworn testimony by Amber Guyger on the stand and the testimony of several fellow officers with Dallas police.

"She said that if you see a suspect, they're trained at the academy, and you cannot see their hands you are authorized to use force against them," said Merritt. 

Merritt told WFAA these policies and procedures deprived Botham Jean of his constitutional rights.

"[Guyger] acted based on how she was trained... so the City has to be a party to that suit. The City has to be held for her actions and her poor training" said Botham's mother Allison Jean. 

Botham Jean was killed in his apartment by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who said she mistakenly thought it was her apartment and he was an intruder. Guyger was off duty at the time of the shooting, which occurred in September 2018.

The family is relieved but understands now there is a long road as the case moves forward.  

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Jean family in October 2018, and includes Guyger as a defendant.