The Institute for Law Enforcement Administration awarded its 2019 Ethical Courage Award to Brandt Jean, 18, on Tuesday for publicly hugging and forgiving former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, who killed his older brother inside his own apartment in 2018.
"I am honored to accept it on behalf of my brother, Botham Shem Jean, who was an example of ethical leadership," Brandt Jean told the institute gathering in Plano, Texas, according to NBC News.
He said that he did not mean to make a statement with his action.
"I never intended for the statement I made to the person that murdered my brother to receive such international recognition," he said. "To be honest, I struggled with it for a long time as I struggled with accepting this award from this agency."
A Dallas County jury convicted Amber Guyger, 31, in October of fatally shooting Botham Jean, 26, in his apartment in 2018. Guyger maintained that she mistakenly took his apartment for her own and thought that Jean was an intruder.
At Gugyer's sentencing hearing, Brandt Jean hugged Guyger and told her that she should give herself to God and ask him for forgiveness.
"I am speaking for myself," Brandt said to Guyger, "but I love you, just like anyone else. And I'm not going to say I hope you rot and die, just like my brother did."
The Institute for Law Enforcement Administration is aimed at improving the quality of justice by developing leaders in law enforcement.
Gregory Smith, the director of the institute, said in a statement that Brandt represents the "best in us."
"Each year, we present the Ethical Courage Award to recognize an individual or organization for outstanding ethics and integrity," Smith said. "Brandt Jean represents the best in us. Despite an unimaginable loss, he saw the humanity in the person responsible for his brother's death. He saw her pain and regret, and had the ability to show empathy, caring and forgiveness."
While accepting the award, Brandt that said forgiving Guyger was an act for himself as well as her.
"After being found guilty by a jury of her peers, sentenced under the law, Ms. Guyger needed to be forgiven, and I needed to be free from the burden of unforgiveness," he said.
Follow Jordyn Pair on Twitter at @JordynPair.