NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Rather than lashing out at the police officer who killed his brother, a Dallas man showed incredible grace in a courtroom, offering forgiveness in place of hate.
As he looked into the face of his brother’s killer inside a courtroom, Brandt Jean chose not to embrace anger or hate. Instead, he embraced her.
“I forgive you,” he told Amber Guyger.
The act of forgiveness so stunning, the 18-year-old appeared on national TV Friday to talk about the impact of his victim impact statement.
“This is what you have to do to set yourself free. I didn’t really plan on living the rest of my life hating this woman,” he said.
Brandt says he harbors no ill will towards the former Dallas police officer.
She was sentenced this week to 10 years in prison for killing Botham Jean after accidentally walking into his apartment.
While it can be hard decision to forgive, clinical psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky says it ultimately helps the victim move on.
“Revenge, anger, holding grudges always just eats at your heart, eats at your mind, and doesn’t allow you to really move on,” she told CBS2’s Christina Fan.
Psychologists say the biggest obstacle to overcome are loved ones who may not support your decision to heal.
“They’ll be at you with, ‘You are wrong, you shouldn’t feel that way, you’re betraying our loved one.’ You have to stand firm in your decision,” Kuriansky said.
There were protests outside the courtroom after Guyger’s sentencing, calling it too lenient, but Jean is standing firm with his decision.
“I know that there’s something called peace of mind and that’s the type of stuff you need to do to have peace of mind,” he said.
His belief is that true forgiveness comes from the soul — not from a jail sentence.
Under Texas law, Guyger will be eligible for parole after serving at least five years.