Over the weekend, Atatiana Jefferson was at home with her nephew when a concerned neighbour contacted a non-emergency police number in the early hours of Saturday morning, when he realized that the doors of the Jefferson house were standing open.
After arriving at the house, former Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean, saw the figure of a person standing by the window inside the house. Dean aimed his firearm at the window and shouted, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” but he did not identify himself as an officer of the law. A moment later, he fired his weapon through the window, hitting Atatiana who later succumbed to her injuries. Dean has since been arrested and charged with murder, but he is currently out on bail.
“The family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested and charged with murder,” said the Jefferson family lawyer, Lee Merritt.
“He did get what I wanted him to get, and this is only the start,” said Adarius Carr, Atatiana’s brother. “There’s no way this is enough. We know this is a good step in the direction where we want to go, but it’s definitely not the end.”
“We value the trust that we’ve had in our community, we will continue to build that trust,” stated Fort Worth Sergeant Chris Daniels. “To the citizens and residents of our city, we feel and understand your anger and disappointment.”
Dean received an administrative complaint on Sunday, where his badge and gun were taken from him. Police Chief Ed Kraus said that Dean resigned yesterday.
“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department. However, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met,” explained Kraus.
Without Dean’s resignation, he would’ve been kicked out of the department for inappropriate conduct and breaching the department’s use of force and de-escalation policy. A case has also been handed over to the FBI to examine Dean’s behaviour in relation to potential civil rights violations.
“None of this information can ease the pain of Atatiana’s family but I hope it shows the community that we take these incidents seriously,” said Kraus.
The Mayor of Fort Worth, Betsy Price, said that the incident is “unacceptable” and that there’s “nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning”.