Extraordinary embrace: gesture of forgiveness by murder victim's brother

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Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting a neighbor in his own home

Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting a neighbor in his own home (AFP Photo/HO)

Washington (AFP) - It was an extraordinary moment at the end of an unusual trial.

A white police officer being embraced by the young black man whose brother she had been convicted of murdering.

The emotional scene capped the trial of Amber Guyger, a 31-year-old Dallas, Texas, policewoman who shot her neighbor in 2018 after entering the wrong apartment.

Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison on Wednesday for the murder of Botham Jean, 26, who worked for an accounting firm.

Guyger, who is white, had claimed she thought Jean, who was black, was an intruder in her own apartment.

In fact, she had entered Jean's unlocked apartment, located in the same building but one floor above hers.

After Guyger was sentenced, Jean's younger brother, Brandt Jean, 18, asked the judge if he could give Guyger a hug.

"I don't know if this is possible but can I give her a hug please?" Brandt Jean asked Judge Tammy Kemp. The judge hesitated but said yes after Brandt Jean repeated his plea.

The two then embraced for nearly a minute in the well of the courtroom as Guyger sobbed loudly and a court bailiff looked on somberly.

Brandt and Botham Jean's mother, Allison Jean, said she was surprised by her son's gesture of forgiveness.

"What he did today, was remarkable, and he did it all on his own," Allison Jean told CBS News. "What Brandt did was to cleanse his heart towards Amber...

Allison Jean added though that she did not want it to be "misconstrued as a complete forgiveness of everybody."

"There is a lot that has to be done by the Dallas Police Department, by the Texas Rangers, by the city of Dallas," Allison Jean said.

Botham Jean's shooting and its aftermath sparked demonstrations and appeals for justice in a nation where white police officers who shoot people of color often go free.

On the night of the shooting, Guyger was still wearing her police uniform after a nearly 14-hour shift.

Jean, who was unarmed, was sitting on the couch in his apartment, number 1478, eating ice cream. Guyger lived in 1378.

Guyger's lawyer had told the court his client had made a "tragic mistake," but that she was not "evil."

"I ask God for forgiveness, and I hate myself every single day," Guyger said during the trial, which begin in September.

"I never wanted to take an innocent person's life," she said.