Judge in Amber Guyger murder trial defends hugging her at sentencing

National News

Former Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger gives State District Judge Tammy Kemp a hug after the judge had given her a Bible and before Guyger left for jail, Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2019, in Dallas. Guyger, who said she mistook neighbor Botham Jean’s apartment for her own and fatally shot him in his living room, was sentenced to a decade in prison. (Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP, Pool)

DALLAS (NBC News) — A Dallas judge said Monday she “would not” and “could not refuse” giving a hug and a Bible to the former police officer she had just sentenced to 10 years behind bars for killing an unarmed neighbor, Botham Jean, in his own apartment.

District Judge Tammy Kemp, has come under fire for the compassion she showed last week to Amber Guyger, who was convicted of second-degree murder.

Guyger, barged into the apartment of her neighbor Sept. 6 last year thinking it was her own. Believing Jean was an intruder, Guyger, who had just finished a shift, drew her weapon and gunned down the 26-year-old in his own home.

During Guyger’s sentencing hearing, the victim’s brother, Brandt Jean, also said she wished Guyger well and hugged her.

Both his and Kemp’s physical embrace of Guyger, 31, have angered some in the African American community.

Kemp said she felt her actions were acceptable because the embrace came after all official proceedings had been completed.

“I’m surprised that people think that hug was somehow detrimental,” Kemp told the Associated Press. “Had you witnessed the person who was hurting as Miss Guyger was, I don’t know a person who would have denied her that human contact.”

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