Dallas, TX – A woman who recorded Dallas Police Officer Amber Guyger in the aftermath of the Botham Jean shooting raised over $30,000 after claiming she was threatened and fired from her job for speaking out about the video.
Now-former Officer Guyger fatally shot 26-year-old Jean inside his apartment on Sep. 6, 2018, after she got off a 13-hour shift and mistakenly entered an apartment she thought was her own, the New York Daily News reported.
When she encountered Jean, she believed he was a burglar, and fired off two rounds, killing him.
Guyger has since been indicted on a murder charge.
“I did hear the actual shot, and that’s what prompted me to go outside and actually start recording the video,” witness Ronnie “Bunny” Babbs told Advise Media Network in an interview in January. “And I head a male’s voice say, ‘Oh my God! Why did you do that?’”
Babbs said her cell phone recording began approximately 60 seconds after she heard two gunshots ring out.
The video showed the uniformed, off-duty officer as she frantically paced the hallway outside Jean’s apartment while talking on the phone, The Dallas Morning News reported.
It also captured the moment that paramedics rushed Jean down the same hallway on a gurney.
Babbs claimed she never planned to publicize the video, but that she decided to do so after she read news reports regarding Guyger’s account of what occurred.
“I see that what she was saying was completely contradicting to what I had seen,” she said during the interview. “I was hesitant. I didn’t want that attention on myself, but I kinda felt compelled to do something… because I knew what was on my video was contradicting to what she was saying happened.”
Babbs later launched a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for own benefit, and praising her self-declared bravery and self-sacrifice.
“I was brave enough to come forward with information that has helped the DA charge a police officer who murdered an innocent black man in his own home when nobody else would,” Babbs wrote on the fundraising page, according to The Dallas Morning News. “I was hesitant as I knew the consequences could affect me greatly. I put my own life at risk and decided to help.”
“I… [have] received countless harassments,” she added.
Babbs said she was ultimately fired from her job, and that her employer accused her of “radical, anti-police” behavior before they “blacklisted” her.
“I was working for a pharmaceutical company, a loyal employee for 3 years working my way up in the company,” she wrote on the GoFundMe page. “They decided to fire me the moment it was discovered it was my video footage and assumed it help… [lead to] the officer’s arrest. They called me a radical, anti-police amongst other things. They also blacklisted me.”
During her interview with Advise Media Network, Babbs explained that the company then “took it a step further and blacklisted my credentials, so my credentials are no longer valid in the state of Texas.”
Babbs has refused to provide the name of the company that she claimed berated her and fired her without justification, but said she is “in the process” of appealing her “blacklisted credentials.”
She originally wrote that she was “in the process of writing a book to tell my full story” about the shooting, but later said she is taking classes so she can own her own pharmacy, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“My most prominent goal with my money was to put myself in a position where nobody could ever take away my ability to make an income again,” Babbs wrote in a recent update. “I have stated [sic] two new online boutiques and enrolled in classes so that I can pursue OWNING my own pharmacy so I never have to work for one again.”
“Thank you, not just for me but showing them WE GOT US!” she added. “My community has come together to support me and so many others and it scares ‘them’…”
The fundraising page was still accepting donations on Wednesday morning.
Babbs blew off concerns that her credibility in the courtroom could be negatively affected by the funds she has solicited from donors thus far, or the unsupported claims she made about being victimized, The Dallas Morning News reported.
“There are obviously major red flags any time a witness uses a connection to a legal proceeding as a platform to openly solicit donations,” Dallas defense attorney Chris Knox told the paper.
“Everything this witness has said in relation to this case will probably be put under a microscope. Has the story changed? Have things been exaggerated or made up? Is this opportunistic platform new, or is there a history to this type of behavior?” added Knox, who is not affiliated with the case.
According to court documents, Guyger’s defense attorneys have subpoenaed Babbs’ employment records with numerous companies, The Dallas Morning News reported.
They are also looking into two prior theft offenses involving Babbs, KDFW reported.
Guyger faces a possible life sentence if she is convicted of murder.
Then-Officer Guyger was off-duty and returning home from work just after 10 p.m. on Sept. 6 when the incident occurred.
After having worked 14 hours serving warrants in high crime areas of the city, the 30-year-old officer parked on the wrong floor of the parking garage adjacent to her apartment building, WCAU reported.
The arrest affidavit said the garage levels correspond with the floors in the apartment complex. Officer Guyger lived on the 3rd Floor of the Southside Flats apartment complex, and should have parked on the 3rd floor where her apartment was.
But the off-duty officer parked on the 4th floor of the parking garage and proceeded into the building, where she went to the door of the apartment she believed to be her own and inserted her key.
The affidavit used to get the warrant for the officer’s arrest said the door to the 4th Floor apartment was not completely shut. It’s been reported that the Southside Flats apartments use a keycard entry system.
“She inserted a unique door key, with an electronic chip, into the door key hole,” the affidavit said. “The door, which was slightly ajar prior to Guyger’s arrival, fully opened under the force of the key insertion.”
The sound of the door opening alerted Jean, who was home alone in his apartment watching football.
The affidavit said Jean went to see what was going on at his front door.
Officer Guyger told investigators she saw the silhouette of someone in what she believed to be her own apartment, and drew her firearm, WCAU reported. The affidavit said she believed she was being robbed.
She gave verbal commands that were ignored by Jean, according to the affidavit. Then she fired her weapon in the dark at the person twice, striking him once.
The arrest affidavit said it wasn’t until Officer Guyger was already on the phone with 911, that she reached to turn on the lights and she realized she was not in her own apartment.
She went into the hall and checked the address on the door, and confirmed for the dispatchers that she was in unit 1478, one floor above her own apartment, WCAU reported.
In her interview with Advise Media Network, Babbs said that Guyger should have known she was on the wrong floor because of marked indicators on the wall, and argued that the former officer was lying about Jean’s door being ajar because they are designed to latch automatically.
Babbs also said she believed Guyger was making a “personal call” as she paced the hallway after the shooting – not a call to police.
“It was just a lot of crying, a lot of hysterics,” she said of Guyger’s behavior during the seven-minute call. “From what I could hear, it didn’t sound like she was calling the police.”
Babbs said she initially cooperated with investigators after the incident, but that she got tired of them questioning her every day for two weeks because she believed they were trying to criminalize her, so she refused to speak with them further.
“I did get a feeling like they were trying to get me to give a different answer, and they were trying to pressure me to say something… differently than I said it yesterday,” she said.
She also claimed that “the feds” came to her home wanting to speak with her, but that they refused to specify which agency they were with and “denied” her request for business cards.
“I just feel, like, ostracized,” Babbs lamented during the interview. “I feel belittled and unfortunately, I’m not surprised. I didn’t think it would go any other way… Amber has received so much support from her community, and I feel like I didn’t receive the same.”
“I’m the one that tried to help put a murderer behind bars,” she added.