Amber Guyger, 26, claims she entered Botham Jeans apartment by mistake and acted in self-defense, in case that has inflamed racial tensions
Testimony is to begin on Monday in the trial of a former Dallas police officer who claims she killed an unarmed black man after entering his apartment by mistake.
Amber Guyger is accused of murdering Botham Jean last year in a case that inflamed racial tensions and suspicion of the authorities in a Texas city with a long history of deadly contact between police and civilians.
Jury selection took more than a week, with about 4,000 summons issued and hundreds of potential jurors questioned. Guygers lawyers argued she cannot receive a fair trial in Dallas because of media hysteria and public comments by officials about the shooting. They asked to move the trial to one of several nearby counties a request the judge, Tammy Kemp, denied.
Seemingly fearful of public unrest, the Dallas police department told its officers last month that they could not request additional time off during the trial. There were street protests and angry scenes at a city council meeting after Jeans death.
A Dallas civil rights group, the Next Generation Action Network, plans to hold a rally outside the courthouse on Monday.
The head of the Dallas police association called for the trial to be delayed on the basis that resources will be stretched by the city hosting the state fair of Texas, a suggestion that Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Jeans family, described on Twitter as absurd and contemptible.
Guyger, who is white, had finished work on the evening of 6 September last year but was still in uniform when she parked at her apartment building. Jean, a 26-year-old accountant, lived on the floor above her.
In Guygers telling, she parked on the wrong floor after a long and tiring shift and walked into a dark apartment directly above her own, where she encountered Jean and thought he was a burglar. The 31-year-old claims she gave Jean verbal commands that were ignored. She then fired twice, fatally striking him with a bullet to the chest.
If it was a white man would it have been different? Would she have reacted differently? Allison Jean, the victims mother, said on the local station KXAS last year.
The family of Jean, who was born in St Lucia and was active in his local church, have filed a civil lawsuit that questions how Guyger could have missed various details telling her she was in the wrong apartment, such as signs, door numbers and a red floor mat outside the door. The lawsuit alleges she killed Jean without any warning as he got up from his sofa.
It also claims Guygers conduct reflects inadequate training and fits the departments pattern, practice, history and custom of using excessive force against minorities, citing examples of recent fatal shootings by Dallas police.