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Jury makes history with Guyger verdict

No female police officer in Dallas County had ever been found guilty of murder until Tuesday.

DALLAS — The debate over whether justice was served in Dallas on Tuesday will likely continue for decades. But something that cannot be debated is the gravity of the jury's decision.

“For so many unarmed black and brown human beings all across America, this verdict is for them,” said attorney Ben Crump in a Dallas County courthouse hallway, grabbing the hand of Allison Jean and raising it over his head. 

Jean’s son, Botham, was shot and killed September 5, 2018, by former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger.

Guyger said she mistakenly entered Jean’s unlocked apartment, which was one floor above hers, and believed he was an intruder in her home. She fired her gun at him twice, fatally wounding him. 

A jury convicted her of murder late Tuesday morning after five hours of deliberating.

Guyger is the first female police officer in Dallas County to be found guilty of murder and the first Dallas police officer to be convicted of the charge since the 1970s, when officer Darrell Cain killed 12-year-old Santos Rodriguez. 

Riots ensued after Rodriguez's death. 

Cain spent just over two years in prison for the crime.

RELATED: 40 years later, family hopes for apology after 12-year-old shot by Dallas police

Fast forward four decades and there have now been four police officers in Dallas County indicted on murder charges in the last three years.

Ken Johnson, a former Farmers Branch police officer, was indicted for an off-duty shooting that killed a teen who had broken into his vehicle.

Roy Oliver, a former Balch Springs police officer, was indicted for an on-duty shooting that took the life of 15-year-old Jordan Edwards.

Michael Dunn was indicted earlier this year after a June shooting while he was on duty. Dunn, a Farmers Branch officer, claimed Johnny Moreno was driving a stolen truck toward him so he shot and killed him. Surveillance video showed the vehicle did not appear to be endangering the officer's life.

Dunn’s case has not yet gone to trial. 

Johnson and Oliver were convicted of murder, as was Guyger. 

“We love law enforcement…but that doesn’t mean they’ve got carte blanche to do whatever they want to do,” said Mike Snipes, a former Dallas County assistant district attorney who helped build cases against those officers.

He said he understands that the community might view Guyger’s conviction from a historic perspective, but he looks at it in a different way.

“The solid, professional lawyers in this case and the judge were just doing their jobs,” he said. “They did an outstanding job and I credit all of them.”

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