About three hours after a Dallas County jury gave Amber Guyger a 10-year sentence for the murder of 26-year old Botham Jean on Wednesday, Dallas residents gathered around the Frank Crowley Courts Building to protest the sentence and honor Jean's life.
The highly publicized trial against the former Dallas Police officer and UTA alumna for the shooting of Jean after allegedly mistaking his apartment as her own lasted nine days.
On Tuesday, a jury found Guyger guilty of murder. On Wednesday, the jury sentenced her to serve 10 years in prison, with an eligibility for parole in five years.
Following the sentencing, many gathered in front of the court building that housed the trial to vocalize their disapproval.
Dallas resident Ashala Uzuri was one of the first in attendance. As more and more people gathered in front of the court building, Uzuri was sage cleansing anyone who would accept it.
Uzuri said even though those in attendance may have justified anger, she wants to help keep everyone level-headed.
“I know where our emotions can go,” Uzuri said. ”We have a lot of anger. There’s nothing wrong with anger at all, but within that anger we need to still make sure that we are still controlled.”
The protest began with music and waving flags honoring the Saint Lucian native.
As speakers took the microphone, protesters gathered together, holding signs saying “No Justice, No Peace,” and “Botham Jean’s innocent life was only worth 10 years.”
Dominique Alexander, founder of local activist group Next Generation Action Network, said he’s tired of being asked why organizations like his are protesting, recalling the cases of Genevive Dawes, Tony Timpa, Sandra Bland and others.
“All we’re saying is let us live,” Alexander said. “Let our children come home to us. Let us come home to our wives and our husbands.”
Following the speakers, several protesters spilled into the streets, linking arms and blocking the corner of Commerce Street and Riverfront Boulevard before police intervened.
Dallas resident Alpha Thomas, who has been a part of social protests in Dallas for over 30 years, said to have a lasting impact, young demonstrators need to be thoroughly organized and boycott.
“You can’t just be hot headed,” Thomas said. “You must strategize.”