Tierra Harris

Tierra Harris is a freshman journalism and sociology major and writes “Tierra Talks” for The Daily News. Her views do not necessarily agree with those of the newspaper. Write to Tierra at tmharris@bsu.edu.

Growing up, I always felt like everyone had a safe place.

I remember running into my bedroom after a long, stressful day in elementary school and just being able to wind down. I’d kick my feet up, turn on an episode of whatever was popular at the time and just relax without any possible threat in mind. 

Nobody could hurt me and nobody would hurt me. I was in my safe place, after all.

But after the murder of 26-year-old Botham Jean, I’ve realized that the world really doesn’t have “safe places” anymore.

Now before this story turns into a racial standoff, I’d like to clarify that this isn’t one of those pieces. I’m not going to sit here and rant about the injustice that the black community has faced, because that’s only a fraction of the problem. Whether this case revolves around matters of black versus white, or men versus women, isn’t the purpose of this. 

It’s about justice. It’s about what’s right or wrong. 

And Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, just like any other citizen, should not be subject to any special treatment after killing a man on Sept. 6 who was in the comfort of his own home.

According to Guyger’s account, after mistakenly going to Jean’s apartment – an entire floor above her own – she pushed the “slightly ajar” door open. Upon entering and seeing what she thought was an intruder in her apartment, she shot Jean. He later died at Baylor University Medical Center.

Within hours of Jean’s death, his story hit social media by storm. 

Rallies took place soon after Jean’s death and resulted in a stir of controversy on whether or not the Dallas Police Department was handling the investigation accordingly. 

With the arrival of 10.4 grams of marijuana found in Jean’s apartment and a search warrant put into place, according to Associated Press, Lee Merritt, Jean’s family’s attorney, said that investigators “immediately began looking to smear [Jean].”

After reading dozens of articles and watching interviews, the narrative behind what truly happened is constantly changing. 

Yes, Guyger had just finished working a 15-hour shift, so there’s no doubt that she was probably exhausted. That, I understand. 

But there are aspects of this case that I just can’t wrap my head around.

Did she not see the red doormat, different furniture, pictures and overall layout of Jean’s apartment in comparison to hers? Why, on the day of Jean’s funeral, did evidence pertaining to Jean possibly having possession of marijuana become part of the case, along with the appearance of a search warrant? Why is Guyger still on administrative leave, and not fired? 

All we have are unanswered questions and another dead man.

At this point, all I can do is hope. 

I hope that Guyger doesn’t receive any special treatment during her trial. Whether it be because she is a white woman or a police officer. 

I hope that Jean’s family develops the ability to move forward. Whether it be with the empathy of citizens across the nation or by justice in the courtroom. 

And I hope that this situation doesn’t create even more conflict between black and white communities going forward. With the rise of cases relating to police brutality, the immediate reactions towards a situation like this may be seen as just another incident of white on black crime. Together, we have to understand Jean’s death is more than that.

As I realize the repercussions of this case on society, I can’t help but mourn the loss of safe places for people who need them the most. 

That child who never had a care in the world deserves to live through each and every one of us, and Guyger or any other authority figure, should never stand between.

For those who only have their bedrooms and favorite television shows to find comfort in, I wish you the best.