One of the relatives of a Dallas police officer who gunned down a man inside his own apartment is defending what appears to be racist symbols in social media photos.
Noe Garza is the brother-in-law of Dallas cop Amber Guyger, 30, who is charged with manslaughter in the shooting death of Botham Shem Jean, 26.
In one Facebook.com photo that is circulating online, Garza makes hand signs that look like “white power” signs, according to Black Twitter.
Garza told the Dallas Morning News he was making the signs for “6” and “9” to celebrate his father-in-law’s birthday. He told the paper it was his father-in-law’s 69th birthday.
“My last name is Garza. I’m a Mexican,” he told the newspaper. “I don’t care about your nationality. I don’t care about the color of your skin. We all bleed red.”
Another photo shows Garza throwing up a hand signs that could easily be interpreted as white power signs. But Garza said he was simply showing appreciation for his favorite band, Lagwagon.
None of these are racist photos,” Garza told the Morning News. “I am not racist.”
In a third photo, Guyger poses with a relative who is wearing an “All Lives Matter” t-shirt, which is considered anti-Black by many on social media.
Guyger told investigators she arrived home at the South Side Flats apartments after working a 15-hour shift. She went to Jean’s apartment mistakenly believing it was her own.
She said the door was “slightly ajar” and when it opened, she saw a “large silhouette” moving around inside the apartment.
She said the figure did not respond to verbal commands, so she drew her service weapon and fired twice, hitting him once in the torso. Se realized she was at the wrong apartment when she called 911 and gave the dispatcher Jean’s apartment number.
Jean was pronounced dead at a local hospital.
Lawyer Lee Merritt, one of the attorney’s who is representing Jean’s family, told the NY Daily News on Wednesday that he didn’t know what role the photos would play in the shooting.
“We really don’t know much about the shooting. I think we have enough evidence to know what Ms. Guyger claims happened didn’t happen,” he said.