The Dallas judge who hugged Amber Guyger said the former cop asked her for a hug and for help seeking God’s forgiveness.
Judge Tammy Kemp was widely criticized by legal experts and the public after she embraced Guyger and gave her a Bible at the end of Guyger’s murder trial.
Kemp told The Associated Press that she believed her actions were appropriate since Guyger said she didn’t understand how to begin seeking God’s forgiveness for killing accountant Botham Jean, 26.
“She asked me if I thought that God could forgive her and I said, ‘Yes, God can forgive you and has,'” Kemp said. “If she wanted to start with the Bible, I didn’t want her to go back to the jail and to sink into doubt and self-pity and become bitter. Because she still has a lot of life ahead of her following her sentence and I would hope that she could live it purposefully.”
Kenneth Williams, a professor at the South Texas College of Law in Houston, told The NY Post: “[Kemp] has indicated an affinity or sympathy for the defendant.”
And attorney Sherrilyn Ifill tweeted that a judge should remain impartial and unbiased in a court of law.
However, Kemp said she never acknowledged her Christian faith in court previously or provided a defendant with a Bible, but Guyger told her she didn’t have a Bible at the end of the trial. Kemp said Guyger asked her for a hug twice.
“Following my own convictions, I could not refuse that woman a hug. I would not,” Kemp said defiantly.
She also responded to the anger of Black people who wondered why she didn’t show the same empathy for Black defendants.
“I don’t understand the anger. And I guess I could say if you profess religious beliefs and you are going to follow them, I would hope that they not be situational and limited to one race only,” Kemp said.