'Bo’s Law', named after Botham Jean, passing in the Texas Legislature
AUSTIN, Texas - A police reform bill named after a Black man from Dallas who was shot and killed by an officer in his own apartment has passed the Texas Legislature. Bo’s Law is now headed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s desk.
Bo’s Law largely has to do with body cameras and making sure officers keep them on. The goal is to increase police accountability and transparency in investigations that involve body cams.
In 2018, Botham Jean was shot and killed in his apartment by off-duty Dallas Officer Amber Guyger, who’s now serving a ten-year sentence for his murder.
She claimed she thought he was an intruder in her apartment, but it turns out she had walked into his apartment. Guyger did not have her body camera on when the shooting happened, because she had just left work.
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Bo’s Law would require officers with body-worn cameras to keep them on during the entire investigation, though it does not make it a crime for an officer to turn it off. The bill was written by Sens. Royce West and Carl Sherman, who both represent parts of Dallas County, where Botham Jean’s murder happened.
"The Botham Jean Act came as a result of a mishap in Dallas where a young man was sitting in his home and he was shot and killed," said West. "I think this goes a long way in terms of accountability and transparency it protects the law enforcement officer and the citizen.
Originally, the bill would have clarified the Castle Doctrine in Texas, which gives a person the right to use force and claim self-defense. Guyger tried to use a defense in her trial. The provision to change the Castle Doctrine was removed from the bill before it passed the House and Senate.