Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean Resigns After Fatally Shooting Atatiana Jefferson In Her Home, Could Face Charges

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A Fort Worth police offi­cer who fatal­ly shot a woman in her home while she played video games with her 8‑year-old nephew has resigned from the force but still could face crim­i­nal charges, the inter­im police chief said Monday. 

Chief Ed Krauss said Aaron Dean, who is white, would have been fired and is con­sid­ered dis­hon­or­ably dis­charged from the depart­ment. Krauss also said the U.S. Justice Department will exam­ine the case for pos­si­ble civ­il rights vio­la­tions.

Atatiana “Tay” Jefferson, 28, was shot through her bed­room win­dow ear­ly Saturday by an offi­cer con­duct­ing a wel­fare check. Hours before Krauss spoke Monday, fam­i­ly mem­bers held their own news con­fer­ence demand­ing that the offi­cer be fired and crim­i­nal­ly charged. 

Ashley Carr told reporters her sis­ter was killed by the “reck­less act” of the offi­cer and said the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment should take over the inves­ti­ga­tion.

There is sim­ply no jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for his actions,” she said. “We demand jus­tice for Atatiana thor­ough an inde­pen­dent and thor­ough inves­ti­ga­tion.”

Added Jefferson’s broth­er, Adarius Carr: “This man mur­dered some­one. He should be arrest­ed.”

Investigators were sched­uled to inter­view the offi­cer Monday, police Lt. Brandon O’Neil said. Police also released audio of a neigh­bor’s calm call to a non-emer­gency phone num­ber that sent police to the home.

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Jefferson, who was black, worked as a phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive. The offi­cer has served on the force for 18 months, police said. The shoot­ing took place less than two weeks after for­mer Dallas police offi­cer Amber Guyger was con­vict­ed of mur­der­ing Botham Jean, a black man shot in 2018 as he ate ice cream in his home.

S. Lee Merritt, a lawyer for Jefferson’s fam­i­ly, said police not only vio­lat­ed Jefferson’s rights but also made “com­mon sense” mis­takes. And he called the release of a pho­to of a gun found in the bed­room “obscene,” say­ing no con­nec­tion had been made between the gun and the shoot­ing.

Why this man is not in hand­cuffs is a source of con­tin­ued agi­ta­tion for this fam­i­ly and for this com­mu­ni­ty,” Merritt said

Carol Harrison-Lafayette protests the police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson during a community vigil for Jefferson on on Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. A white police officer who killed the black woman inside her Texas home while responding to a neighbor's call about an open front door "didn't have time to perceive a threat" before he opened fire, an attorney for Jefferson's family said.

Mayor Betsy Price, speak­ing before Krauss, agreed Monday that the gun found in Jefferson’s home was “irrel­e­vant.” 

Atatiana was a vic­tim… unjust­ly tak­en from her fam­i­ly,” Price said.

Merrit said the vic­tim’s nephew told him the duo had been up late play­ing “Halo” – with the doors open to enjoy the cool fall breeze – when they heard noise out­side her bed­room win­dow.

They looked at each oth­er and lis­tened more intent­ly when they heard it again,” Merritt said in a social media post. “Someone was out­side.”

Merritt said the nephew described how his aunt went to the win­dow to see who was there.

Suddenly a man’s voice was scream­ing some­thing he could­n’t make out, and then ‘bang,’ ” Merritt said. Jefferson fell to the floor. Merritt said he did­n’t ask the child what he saw next because he did­n’t want him “to have to relive that” with him.

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Neighbor who called the police non- emer­gency num­ber over after see­ing an open door late at night

I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m a lit­tle afraid when I’m hon­est,” Merritt said. “I hate this hap­pened to (the nephew). I hate it hap­pened to Tay and her beau­ti­ful fam­i­ly. This has to stop now. Enough.”

O’Neil said neigh­bor James Smith called police at 2:23 a.m. Saturday morn­ing, telling the dis­patch­er it was “not nor­mal” for his neigh­bors to have the doors open and lights on at that hour.

Two offi­cers arrived six min­utes lat­er. They did not park in front of the house, O’Neil said. Body cam­era video released by police shows offi­cers, armed with guns and flash­lights, cir­cling the home. An offi­cer stops at a win­dow.

The video ends with an offi­cer shout­ing, “Put your hands up, show me your hands” before the sound of one gun­shot. Jefferson was killed with a bul­let fired through her bed­room win­dow.

O’Neil con­firmed what the video appeared to show – that the offi­cer nev­er iden­ti­fied him­self as police. He also con­firmed that Jefferson’s nephew was in the room.

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Activist Cory Hughes said the com­mu­ni­ty want­ed more than a sus­pen­sion for the offi­cer.

What we are look­ing for is for this offi­cer not only to be fired but to we are demand­ing that his offi­cer be charged as well, like the crim­i­nal that he is,” Hughes said. “This life mat­tered.

This fam­i­ly mat­ters. Story orig­i­nat­ed here; https://​www​.usato​day​.com/​n​e​ws/