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The family of Botham Jean, a Dallas man who was fatally shot by a Dallas police officer in his apartment in 2018, issued a fiery open letter to congressional candidate Jasmine Crockett demanding that she stop representing herself as their attorney for political gain.
"Botham’s name is not an endorsement you can parade, and his legacy is not a sound bite you can use to garner media coverage," the letter from the family reads.
Crockett, who represents Dallas as a state representative, is in a runoff battle with Jane Hamilton to be the Democratic successor to retiring U.S. Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson. In an open letter shared with Texas news outlets, Jean's family said they previously asked Crockett to stop using Botham Jean's name in any capacity related to her political career, but those wishes had been disregarded. The letter said they have now asked their legal team to send Crockett a cease-and-desist letter.
"For you to misrepresent yourself as one of our attorneys, is absolutely disgusting," the letter reads. "You do not represent my family in the interest of Botham and have never represented my family in the interest of Botham, so for you to publicly publish these lies both written and audibly is unacceptable and unbecoming of any civil servant and any decent human being. Clearly, this is only for political gain and we, the family of Botham Jean, want no part of it!"
The letter, released by The Vault Consulting Group, was signed by "the family of Botham Jean." Allison Jean, Botham Jean's mother, told The Dallas Morning News that Crockett's website incorrectly stated that she represented her family.
Crockett said in a statement to The Texas Tribune it was a mistake.
"While nothing was directed towards our campaign regarding this issue, I do want to respond and say that as a civil rights attorney, I’d never intentionally inflict additional distress upon any family. There may have been confusion about some information on our website which was remedied as quickly as it was brought to our attention," she said.
Crockett is a civil rights lawyer who has represented the family of Jordan Edwards, a 15-year-old Black boy who was fatally shot by a white Balch Springs police officer in a car full of unarmed teenagers driving away from a party. She also represented Jacqueline Craig, a Fort Worth woman who was wrestled to the ground by a police officer after calling police for help.
The family wrote that fighting for justice on behalf of Botham Jean "is an undertaking that we wish no family has to endure."
"Having to fight overzealous police officers and now having to fight overzealous lawyers such as yourself to protect our loved one’s name is absolutely traumatizing," the letter said.
Botham Jean was shot in his apartment home while unarmed. Amber Guyger, a white Dallas police officer who was off-duty and returning home, said she mistook his apartment for her own and thought he was a burglar. She lived one floor directly below Jean. She was convicted of murder and sentenced to 10 years in prison.
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