cover image After Botham: Healing from My Brother’s Murder by a White Police Officer

After Botham: Healing from My Brother’s Murder by a White Police Officer

Allisa Charles-Findley, with Jeremiah Cobra. Chalice, $19.99 trade paper (196p) ISBN 978-0-827-20113-2

In this wrenching debut, Charles-Findley recalls the 2018 murder of her brother Botham Jean by a white police officer as he sat at home in Dallas, Tex., watching a sports game. In the surreal, dizzying days afterwards, Charles-Findley struggled to process the loss (“it wasn’t really Botham who was killed but someone who looked like him,” she told herself), while law enforcement downplayed his death, calling it “an unfortunate accident.” Charged with murder, police officer Amber Guyger, who said she’d entered Jean’s apartment believing it was her own and shot him thinking he was an intruder, went to trial in 2019 and received a 10-year prison sentence. Still, peace of mind remained elusive for Charles-Findley, as the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and other Black men and women played out across television screens and social media, igniting “the trauma of losing Botham all over again,” and spurring her to cofound the Sisters of the Movement initiative, which is dedicated to lobbying for police reform. Interweaving the account with poignant memories of her brother—his gentleness, his love of music—Charles-Findley wades into the complexities of grief that persist long after headlines have faded, the internal battles it gives rise to (“I am not quite where I want to be with God”), and the injustices of a country in which the deaths of Black people “have been relegated to casualties of war.” It’s a powerful tribute. (Sept.)