DALLAS — Allisa Findley calls the last three weeks “a trigger.”
The moment opening arguments began in Derek Chauvin’s trial, Findley began having flashbacks to being in a Dallas courtroom.
“I remember setting eyes on Amber Guyger for the first time and seeing that shield around her of police officers and everyone protecting her, like she was the victim,” Findley said.
Former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted in the 2018 death of Findley’s 26-year-old brother, Botham Jean.
Jean was alone inside his apartment with no gun.
Guyger said she mistook his apartment for her own.
She opened the door and shot and killed him.
Her defense was that she thought Jean was an intruder.
Guyger is white.
Jean was Black.
Findley remembers feeling “half a second of relief” when Guyger was found guilty.
“And then immediately after I felt this immense loss,” she said. “Yes, this person is convicted. Yes, they go to jail but, I mean, I don’t get Botham back. I don’t get to hear his voice. I don’t get to see his smile.”
Tuesday’s conviction of Derek Chauvin, after three weeks of testimony, brought the same reaction.
“Hopefully this is a sign of change - change on the right path to reform,” Findley said.
Since her brother’s death, Findley and other sisters of people who’ve been killed by police formed Sisters of the Movement.
The non-profit organization is lobbying for reform in policing, pushing especially for excessive force claims to be tracked at the federal level through the Department of Justice.
“Then we have the possibility of these officers being decertified if they are found guilty and not being able to go to another county or state and get a job as a police officer again,” Findley said. “We don’t need these bad apples in the bunch.”
The sisters of Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot and killed in her own home by then-Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean in 2019, co-founded Sisters of the Movement with Findley.
A trial date still has not been set in Dean’s case.
While Guyger was convicted of murder, she was only sentenced to 10 years in prison – far less than Findley and her family had hoped for.
Guyger's appeal is scheduled to be heard in a Dallas courtroom April 27.
Findley said she will hold her breath until Chauvin is sentenced in about eight weeks.
“Change would be for police officers to think when that bullet leaves their gun you’re not just aiming at one person, you’re aiming at a whole family. You’re aiming at an entire community,” she said.
“We’re all left broken.”