Friday, May 31, 2019

Was Officer Amber Guyger Truthful in Her 911 Call?

Did Dallas police officer Officer Amber Guyger shoot Botham Jean due to her belief that she was entering her own apartment? 

In 2018, Officer Guyger fatally shot Botham Jean (26) claiming to believe she encountered an intruder in her own apartment. 

We now turn to her own words to discover if she is truthful or deceptive. 

There is much to consider in this case, but the team of analysts was focused upon whether or not the officer was truthful about believing she was in the wrong apartment.  

These are notes from the team. 

Consider that the team raises questions that seek to be answered within the language of the subject. There is supplemental material included. 

Greater Context: off duty, coming from 14 (one report of 15) hour shift.  

Analytical Question:
1.     Is the subject reliably reporting what happened?
    (Was she truthful about being in the wrong apartment?)

C: get up, man.  

Unintended Recipient – 
get up, man”--- 
Why the command to “get up”? 
Was the victim capable of “getting up”?
Was the subject arresting the victim? (interview) 
Was the subject in shock, or denial of what happened?
Was anything said prior to this? 
What happened prior to making the call? 

Greater Context: the subject had come off of a 14 hour shift & was Off duty. 

D: Dallas 911. This is Carla. Whatis your emergency?

C: Hi. This is an off duty officer. . .um. . . can I get. . .I need EMS. . .um… um I’m in number. . .um

From the language, we know the victim is a male, and the victim is down. 
Shooting – victim is down. 
1.    The emergency call of a shooting, with the victim down, begins with a greeting, “Hi” as unexpected. Please note the possible ingratiation.  The subject may have a need to be seen in a positive light, with law enforcement.  Why the greeting? This is informal: could the caller (subject) expect some form of “professional courtesy” in this report? Could the caller use the greeting as routine calls to 911?  Ingratiation—‘I am one of you’ bonding when the officer should direct attention to the victim. 

Also consider officers may, by routine, call 911 which can produce the greeting...

2.    This is an off duty officer” – 

a.    The caller does not use her own name – 

b.    She does not say “this is an___ officer”  (psychological ‘distance’? inner conflict?) --title

c.    The caller produced that she was “off duty” – 

d.    Taken together, the caller does not identify herself, her dept/title  and uses a greeting. 

e.    What difference does it make to the subject’s verbalized perception of reality of being “off duty”?

f.     What difference would her time status make to the victim? 

g.    “an” – articles are instinctive (without pre thought) and guide us. It is consistent with the lack of name.  Consider – ‘crowd source’of guilt? ‘Crowd source’ of personal responsibility? 

Distancing:  you do not know my name, my dept, and I am one of many… You do not yet know what the emergency is. 

h.    Does the officer see herself as law enforcement, personally? – or is she distancing? “call”—or “call of duty”; not a “good job.” 

: Hi. This is an off duty officer. . .um. . . can I get. . .I need… um I’m in number. . 

Please not the “pause” (sensitive) above, four times.  The subject is slowing down the pace to give time to consider what to say. 

What causes this need?  Deception? Fatigue? Trauma? unknown? We look for the subject's own words to guide us. 

Note that not giving her name, yet giving her time status (off duty) is a form of self censoring information. This should be considered in the following broken sentence:

um,can I get…”

The subject is a trained law enforcement professional who has discharged her weapon and we know, (from her words) that the victim is a male and he is down. 
We do not expect a question, yet some in LE will use “Can I get…?”as routine. 

Pause 1 produced “I” and a question/request (unexpected) – she asks for something for herself; not the victim. 
Question: Is this habit/training/norm (Greater Context) for a law enforcement official?

In the lesser context, we consider that she did not identify her name, rank nor dept. 

This is appropriateifshe is administering first aid and seeking guidance. 

We must consider that the request for assistance began with a pause.  Is this expected? Is the subject experiencing trauma? 

.um. . . can I get. . .I need EMS

Note the change of language. 

For the subject, has something changed?

Might  this had been something the officer rolled up on (on duty, officially sent)  if the language would have been different-maybe it would have been I need vs can I get. Since she was involved I could  that have changed her language?

b. Has the victim’s status (time?) changed? Is more urgency needed? Is he beyond help? 

c. Note the subject has asserted that she has a need; not the victim. This could be because she is facilitating help for the victim, or it could be a signal of personal guilt, as we find in domestic homicide calls. 

c. um… um I’m in number. . .um

Might this affirm, deny or not speak to, her assertion of accidental entrance? 

+ + 0 + + 0   0 0 + 

The pause here is about location. – the language is address of the apartment. This affirms the assertion about belief in wrong apartment.  During this critical (hormonal consequence) communication (including shots fired indoors/sensory/sound), the "excited utterance" is in support of the assertion.  We continue to analyze...

 Please note that as a trained officer, she did not give location first. 

The question is “what” is your emergency:

: Hi. This is an officer. . .um. . . can I get. . .I need… umI’m in number. . 

1.    Greeting
2.    Personal Identification is incomplete 
3.    Request for assistance for self
4.    Location of apartment –
Contextual: an officer may: 
1. give their call sign 
2. give their location 
3. give the crime code 
4. what they need

We do not know why EMS is needed. We do not know who needs it (other than the subject) – to this point, there has not been a shooting. 

What does trauma in language look like?

Even with the possibility of trauma in her language, we note that she has the presence of mind greet, place herself in a group…

Passivity that is inappropriate – (mirrors deception) but sometimes with a dissociative factor as if the subject is watching and commenting on what happened, sometimes using present tense (or incomplete past tense) language. 

Thus far, trauma?  Not evident yet. 

Processing of information is in question 


D: What’s your address?
C: um

D: Do you need police as well or just EMS
C: Yes. Ineed both.

D: Okay, what’s the address?

C: Fuck. I’m at apartment number 1478. I’m in 1478

She does not give the address.
a.    Is her priority the apt number because she went to the wrong apt?
b.    Might she instinctively be thinking enhanced 911 knows the address? 
C. "at" to "in" may be realization (processing)

Does this point support (+) or negate (-) or not speak to (0) the possible wrong apt assertion?

(++++) supporting the premise of wrong apartment. 

?: +  - 0 her assertion of wrong apartment accident: 

+ + + supportive of being in the wrong apt. 

“at” could be location, while “in” could be the situation inside the apartment. 

Pause re location?  (+++) supportive of wrong apartment assertion. 

Emotion, “F”--- realization?  Some personal responsibility? "in" places her as a participant; "at" could be an outside observer

Note: this could explain why she gave the address first, the shock of seeing it right there, and it's the wrong apartment (?) 

External Info -- 

Affidavit:    The affidavit says the apartment was dark and Guyger turned on the lights while on the phone with 911 after the shooting.

Guyger would later tell police she found the door slightly ajar and that it opened when she put her key fob in the door, the arrest warrant says. She told investigators she saw a "large silhouette" across the room and began giving commands, which Jean "ignored,” the arrest warrant says.

D: And what’s the address there?
C: Um.. .it’s 1210 South Lamar. . . 1478. . .yes

D: What’s going on?

Present tense – what is now happening at the location? The expectation is that the subject now identify the victim’s needs and/or what she is doing to help him. 

C: I’m an off duty officer

I thought I was in my apartment and I shot a guy thinking that he was. . . thinking it was my apartment.

a.    Self identity continues to avoid using her name, title or name of her dept. 
b.    Repeat of earlier work status (“off duty”) 
c.     Note “I” and “officer” are far apart. 
d. Note reliability of form "I thought I was in my apartment" 
and "I shot a guy..." 

I thought I was in my apartment

a.    Form: Reliable on its form.  
“I shot guy” 

Form: reliable – we should believe her. The article suggests not knowing him previously. 

Affidavit:  Jean, 26, lived on the fourth floor of the Southside Flats apartments in Dallas, according to an arrest warrant filed in September. Guyger, who lived directly below Jean on the third floor, said she parked on the fourth floor and walked down the hallway to what she "thought was her apartment," the warrant stated.

What is her level of care (LD) towards the victim, up to this point?  -- thus far, we do not know where he was shot, how many times he was shot, or his present condition? There is no empathy expressed for the victim. 

and I shot a guy thinking that he was. . . thinking it was my apartment.

She is explaining why without being asked. 

Appropriate in context. 

D: You shot someone?

C: Yes, I thought it was my apartmentI’m fucked. Oh my godI’m sorry.

Guilt: “I’m sorry”—would be appropriate for accident and intentional, though mostly for different reasons.  The latter is often associated with regret of being caught. 

Note the lack of empathy towards the status of the victim. ***Key in domestic shootings where the subjects know each. 

a.    We do not know the status of the victim 
b.    We do not have concern for the victim
c.     We have Ingratiation, distancing language, signals of guilt (deity, sorry) 
d.    To whom is she “sorry”?  To the Recipient (911 operator) or to an unintended recipient (victim or police in general? 
e.    From the subject to the police (911), he is “a guy” but we do not know his current status. 

We know her condition (she’s “fucked”) but we do not know the condition of the victim. 

*If the victim is beyond help (in her understanding) the LD shifts. 

D: Okay and where are you at right now?

C: I’m in uh. . .What do you mean? I’m inside the apartment with him. Hey, come on, man.

D: What’s your name?

C: I’m Amber Guyger. I need . . get me. . .I’m . . I’m in

Startled: wrong apartment, intruder, shooting, sound, 

Note asking for assistance for self is found in law enforcement language (as well as medical professionals, or anyone who is seeking to facilitate assistance) 

D: Okay we have help on the way.

C: I know,butI’m. .I’m gonna lose my job.I thought it was my apartment. Hey, man. Fuck

She knows help is on the way for the victim, yet expresses her need without addressing the victim’s need. 

It may be she's angry for the victim putting her in this position. In this sense, she is the “victim”, which is why she expresses empathy for herself. 

Subject may be low in human empathy, but did she believe she was in her apartment, and there was an intruder? 

She may be shifting blame to the victim:  He didn't respond to her commands. This is his fault, although it's his apartment and her mistake.

We continue to wait to hear her tell us what she did to try to save him. 

D: Okay stay with me, okay?

C: I am. I am. I needI know I need a supervisor. Hey, bud. Hey, bud. Come on. Fuck. I thought it was my apartment.

D: I understand. We have help on the way, okay?

C: I thought it was my apartment. Hurry, please.

D: They are on their way.

C: I need. . .I. . .I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I could have sworn I parked on the third floor.

Lack of commitment - Appropriate use or Inappropriate use?

-- she is in doubt about the parking---this make speak to confusion.  This would make it an “appropriately” weak assertion. 
Confused in parking should warrant exploration of lengthy hours, sleep deprivation. 

D: Okay I understand.

C: No. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment.

This is to shut down the info and any possibility to the contrary.  This is self focus only. 

D: What’s the gate code there?
C: I don’t know. I don’t know.
D: You don’t know? Okay
C: [Unintelligible.] I thought it was my apartment.

D: They’re trying to get in there. We have an officer there. You don’t know the gate code?

C: No. I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment.

D: Okay and what floor are you in right now?
C: On the fourth floor. Fourth.Hey, bud. Hey, bud. They’re coming. They’re coming. I’m sorry man.

Empathy towards victim noted.  In subsequent questioning, the victim's condition at this point is of importance in understanding the language. 

D: Okay, where was he shot?
C: He’s on the top, top left.

Long pause

D: Okay you’re with Dallas PD, right?
C: Yes. . . . Oh, my god. I’m done. I didn’t mean to. . I didn’t mean to. . I didn’t mean to. . I’m so sorry. Hey, bud.

D: They’re trying to get to you, okay.

C: I know. Stay with me bud.. . Oh, my god.

D: Okay they’re almost there. They’re already there, they tried to get to you.

C: I thought it was my apartment. I thought it was my apartment. Holy fuck. I thought it was my apartment. Oh my god. I thought it was my apartment. I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry. [unintelligible] Oh my god.

D: Okay, they’re trying to get there to you. Do you hear them? Do you see them? 

C: No. . .no. . I . . I. . how the fuck did I put the. . how did I . . I’m so tired. Hurry. Hey! Over here, over here.
D: Go ahead and talk to them.
C: No, it’s me. I’m off duty. I’m off duty. I fucked. I thought they were in my apartment. I thought this was my floor. 

External Info: 
As a result, “Guyger fired her handgun two times striking the Complainant one time in the torso,” according to the affidavit, which says that Guyger entered the apartment, calling 911 and requesting police and EMS and provided first aid to Jean. She turned on the interior lights while on the phone with 911. Upon being asked where she was located by emergency dispatchers, she returned to the front door to observe the address and discovered she was at the wrong apartment,” the document alleges.

The Jean family attorney has also revealed that there were noise complaints made by downstairs neighbors about Botham Jean’s apartment. Guyger lived below Jean.

 Supplemental Info: 

Note:  DOJ 2000 study Evaluating the Effects of Fatigue on Police Patrol Officers

This project’s findings have great relevance since increased fatigue worsens mood and adds to the likelihood of poor judgment and the misuse of force (see Vila 1996).

How lack of sleep may cause deadly police errors
A recent study examined fatigue’s effects on 53 officers’ decision-making and reaction times when the officers were faced with deadly-force situations
Aug 9, 2014

Officers frequently suffer from high levels of fatigue due to lack of sleep, unusual shift schedules, and long hours awake. Fatigue impairs a person’s mental functioning, especially in areas such as decision-making, reaction time, and memory. 
Dr. Bill Lewinski and the researchers at Force Science Institute have done excellent work regarding exhaustion due to physical exertion, and Dr. Bryan Vila has conducted extensive research on the negative effects fatigue has on officer safety
new study conducted by David Blake (MSc.) and Edward Cumella (PhD) has addressed the impact of fatigue on officers’ performance in deadly-force situations. Blake and Cumella’s research examined fatigue’s effects on 53 officers’ decision-making and reaction times when the officers were faced with deadly-force situations

Impaired Decision-Making and Slowed Reaction Times
For one week, officers completed online tasks both before and after each of their shifts. Records included a history of their sleep patterns, total hours slept, total hours awake, shifts worked, and sleep quality. Officers  then engaged in a series of simulated shoot/don’t shoot scenarios using pictures of potential targets that use of force experts had previously classified as warranting either a 'shoot or don’t shoot' response or as ambiguous.  
Blake — a PoliceOne Contributor and retired police officer — and Cumella — a professor of psychology at Kaplan University — found that many fatigue measures correlated strongly with officers’ impaired decision-making and slowed reaction times within the deadly force situations. In particular, poor sleep quality, greater total time awake, more days worked, and working night or swing shifts all decreased the accuracy of officers’ decisions to 'shoot or don’t shoot' and also slowed their reaction times. 
“These impacts occurred most frequently when officers were faced with the more difficult decisions within the ‘don’t shoot’ and ambiguous scenarios,” Blake explained.
In other words, compared to well-rested officers, fatigued officers chose to shoot more often when they should not have done so, and they took longer to decide on the appropriate action when faced with ambiguous situations. The study also indicated that the negative effects of fatigue increased throughout each work day, with officers’ reaction times growing consistently longer from pre-shift to post-shift. 
Blake added, “A surprising and concerning finding was that the officers had experienced only moderate levels of sleep deprivation and fatigue, yet even these moderate levels appeared to cause impairments in decision-making and reaction time. For example, the average total time awake per officer per day was 16 hours.”
Blake continued, “A mountain of empirical evidence demonstrates that 17 hours of total wake time is equivalent to a .05 percent blood alcohol level (BAC); in the present study, officers’ performance was shown to decrease with 16 hours of wake time.”
Officers in the study averaged 6.4 hours of sleep per night, and slept only 20 minutes less per night on work days vs. days off. Although this may not seem like a large amount of sleep deprivation, research has shown that even small decreases in sleep below an average of eight hours per night create a cumulative sleep debt, the negative effect of which is added to the total hours awake. 
Consequently, with the 6.4 hours of sleep per night reported by the officers in the study, participants’ performance levels were impaired nearly to the same extent as someone with a .08 percent BAC. 
Studying Fatigue in Policing: Should We Know More?
In a second phase of the study, 277 officers shared their opinions about the role of fatigue in law enforcement. The results were astonishing; with 69 percent of officers admitting that lack of sleep had caused a mistake or error in their police work. 92 percent believed that the law enforcement field does not adequately concern itself with safety issues arising from officer fatigue, and 95 percent felt the law enforcement field needs to formally explore the impact of sleep deprivation on officers’ performance. 
The results of the study parallel other scientific research about the effects of fatigue on human cognitive performance. Fatigue has been linked to industrial and motor vehicle accidents, causing human errors that have resulted in loss of life and property damage, usually because of impaired decision-making, attention problems, and slowed reaction times. 
“These are clearly not factors which the public would want police officers to face, especially when those officers are making the most critical decision about whether or not to use force in a police encounter,” Blake said. “The decision to take a life in the line of duty and the ability to make that decision quickly enough to save one’s own life is an extremely important public and officer safety concern that cannot be underemphasized.”
Blake contends that police executives, police unions, officers themselves, and other responsible persons should be concerned about the results of this study “because many have noted that the law enforcement industry often entails extremely fatiguing environmental conditions due to shift work, overtime, and long hours.”
Because this study involved a relatively small sample of officers and used a computer simulation that has not yet been fully validated, a next step should include a follow-up study with a greater number of officers from a nationally representative sample of police departments. If the results of follow-up investigations reveal the same findings, proactive steps would appear to be warranted to ensure that officers are not sleep deprived or awake for too many hours while on duty. 
For example, fatigue-mitigating measures can be enacted using simple adjustments, such as on duty nap periods for fatigued officers, circumscribed overtime rules and total work hours, and less frequent shift rotations. 
“Continued research can more precisely determine at what point total hours awake and nightly sleep quantity begin to unacceptably impair officers’ performance,” Blake concluded.
This study indicates that performance deficits arise from even low levels of fatigue. If these findings are borne out, decisive and timely follow-up may be required to ensure that those who are sworn to protect and serve are able to do so at an optimal human performance level for the benefit and safety of themselves and the public. 

Analysis Conclusion

Analytical Questions:
1.     Is the subject reliably reporting what happened?    Yes
2.     Did the subject intentionally shoot the victim?     Yes
3.     Did the subject believe she was shooting an intruder?  Yes  
4.     Did the subject reliably report the mistaken location? Yes 

The subject  tells the truth about going to the wrong apartment, and tracing her thoughts to parking on the wrong floor. 

The subject did not intent to shoot the victim, nor acted with malice nor racist animus towards him. 

The subject may very well be sleep deprived (note in context about being “tired”) as well as impacted by the prior shooting (2017) with her judgement impacted/impaired. 

Self absorption: subject had more empathy for self than victim.  

The subject may be narcissistic (personality driven, immature) and/or have narcissistic like traits due to self preservation from prior traumatic incident. 

Much discussion as to the original psych evaluation and hiring criteria indicated.

The subject does not indicate racial animus in the language. 

The processing sensitivity (pauses) are contextually connected to the wrong location (parking level) and may, very well be, the result of sleep deprivation/fatigue.