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Texas House of Representatives passes Botham Jean Act

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Lawmakers in Texas’ House of Representatives passed the “Botham Jean Act” on Friday by a vote of 108-34.

The legislation, named after a Dallas man who was killed inside his apartment by off-duty police officer Amber Guyger in 2018, requires officers’ body cameras to be activated for the entirety of their participation in an investigation. 

Guyger, who was fired, convicted of murder in 2019 and sentenced to 10 years in prison, claimed she had mistaken Jean for a burglar inside her own home.

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Texas Representative Carol O. Sherman said in a statement that the legislation focuses on “systemic accountability in policing”, and that it was a “watershed” moment to see the Botham Jean Act’s bipartisan support. 

“We want to make sure all the evidence is there to uphold the integrity of policing as a profession and not redact or edit out footage,” Sherman added. “In keeping with the spirit of the young man who HB929 was named after ‘Let the spirit of Botham Jean continue to rise among us.’”

According to the Dallas Morning News, the bill’s number, 929, was a request from Jean’s mother in honor of Bo’s Sept. 29 birthday. 

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The bill now moves onto the Senate for approval, its last hurdle before being sent to the desk of Gov. Greg Abbott.

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