'Demand Justice in Her Honor': Outrage After Police Fatally Shoot Atatiana Jefferson in Her Own Home

Police authorities in Fort Worth, Texas said Monday that officer Aaron Dean—who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson early Saturday monring—would have been fired had he not first resigned and that he still faces possible criminal charges over the shooting.

“There is nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing,” said Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price at a news conference Monday afternoon. The city’s also taken steps, she added, to have “a third party panel of national experts to review this department.”
Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus also spoke at the news conference. He said that in addition to current probes undertaken by the department’s internal affairs and criminal affairs units, the case was presented to the FBI. Dean faces possible civil rights violations, said Kraus.
“Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations for several policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy, and unprofessional conduct,” Kraus said.
Despite his resignation, the officer still faces criminal charges from the major case investigation, noted Kraus. A “substantial update” on that case, he added, would come by Tuesday.
“Justice is critical here,” said Price.

Online progressive advocacy organization Color of Change on Sunday amplified the demand for justice in Forth Worth, Texas after a white police officer shot dead 28-year-old Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, a black woman, in her own home early on Saturday morning.

“Black people shouldn’t have to live every day with the pain of knowing we are not safe even in the comfort of own homes, living our own lives,” the racial justice group said a tweet.

As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, officers went to Jefferson’s home at roughly 2:25 am Saturday in response to a neighbor’s call on a police non-emergency number. That neighbor, James Smith, saw lights on and the doors open and knew Jefferson was there with her 8-year-old nephew.

“I wanted to make sure they were safe,” Smith said of the wellness check. “That’s all I wanted to do.”

The Fort Worth Police Department released some of the body cam footage of the deadly event. It shows officers walking outside the perimeter of Jefferson’s home with flashlights. One officer shouts, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” A single shot is fired a second later. The officers do not identity themselves as police officers. The video released then shows another still frame officers say was a gun in a bedroom.

The family said Jefferson and her nephew were playing video games.

(Warning: Viewers will hear the fatal shot in the video below.)

The police department, in a statement released Saturday, said that the officers “observed a person standing inside the residence near a window. Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot.”

“You didn’t hear the officer shout, ‘Gun, gun, gun,'” Lee Merritt , the family’s attorney, said after viewing the officer’s bodycam video. “He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. That’s murder.”


The officer, who has not yet been named, was put on administrative leave pending an investigation.

The family is demanding an independent investigation and is calling for the officer who fired the fatal shot to face accountability.

“This man murdered someone,” Jefferson’s brother Darius Carr said at a press conference Monday. “He should be arrested.”

The NAACP joined the chorus of those demanding justice.

“If we are not safe to call the police, if we are not safe in our homes, where can we find peace?” the organization said in a tweet late Saturday. “We demand answers. We demand justice.”

The shooting—which occurred less than two weeks after Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison for fatally shooting a black neighbor—has also drawn the attention noted figures including celebrities and 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls.

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