By James Reinl
NEW YORK (AA) - A former police officer from the U.S. state of Texas was sentenced to 10 years behind bars Wednesday for fatally shooting an unarmed black neighbor in his own apartment, several domestic media outlets reported.
Amber Guyger, 31, formerly a Dallas cop, was convicted by a jury Tuesday for the murder of Botham Jean, 26, an accountant from St. Lucia, in September 2017, The Washington Post and other outlets reported.
The verdict and sentencing have been hailed as a victory for civil rights groups in the U.S., which say that black men are killed far too frequently by white police officers, who seldom face prosecution for such incidents.
Reporters described the extraordinary scenes in the courtroom, where Jean’s younger brother Brandt offered Guyger his forgiveness and even asked the judge for permission to hug the convicted killer.
Pleading not guilty during her trial, Guyger told jurors that she thought she had been entering her own apartment and, mistaking Jean for a burglar, drew her weapon and shot him out of fear for her life.
Prosecutors said Jean, who was sitting on his couch watching television and eating ice cream, posed no threat to the off-duty officer. At her trial, jurors were shown messages by Guyger that could be considered racist.