It took three years despite all the video evidence against him.
Fort Worth, TX — On the night of October 12, 2019, Atatiana Jefferson, 28, had committed no crime, had harmed no one, and was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew (now 11) when she heard a noise in the backyard and went to investigate. As Jefferson walked to the window to see who the prowler was, the prowler opened fire and murdered her inside her home. Because this prowler wears a badge, however, instead of investigating a murder, the police department conducted damage control by assassinating Jefferson’s character before arresting Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean for her murder.
Now, three years later and Dean has been found guilty — not of murder — but of the lesser offense of manslaughter. He now faces 20 years in jail.
“If you can’t feel safe in your own home, where can you feel safe?” the prosecuting attorney stated during closing arguments.
As WFAA reports, the prosecution said that on the night Dean shot and killed Jefferson on the night of Oct. 12, 2019, he went to that call wanting action. That he violated his training and general orders, abused his power and put himself in danger and Jefferson paid the price.
“The power you have today is to hold him responsible, it’s to tell them [Atatiana’s family] that it all wasn’t in vain, it’s to say that she [Atatiana] matters. They matter, eastside matters. To say that we protect everyone.” Naturally, Dean’s police union-appointed attorney disagreed and claimed that killing Jefferson through her window was not a crime.“A tragedy doesn’t always equal a crime; it doesn’t always equal a law violation,” Dean’s attorney Bob Gill.
According to a lawsuit filed last year by the now 11-year-old’s mother, that little boy, Zion Carr, “suffered extreme and severe mental and emotional distress, anxiety, terror and agony” from watching his aunt die while officers performed CPR. None of those officers were Dean, however, as he chose not to render aid.
After he watched his aunt bleed out in the living room, police then detained the small child and interrogated him without parental consent, according to the complaint.
“At the age of 8, Z.C. was forced to watch the murder of his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, at the hands of Fort Worth police,” the lawsuit says.
As TFTP reported, Jefferson’s murder took place early on a Saturday morning on Oct. 12, 2019, when an officer was dispatched to Jefferson’s home because her door was slightly ajar. To be clear, however, Jefferson had storm doors, which were closed. Only the door inside was open, which is common for people who have a glass outer door.
Instead of simply walking up to Jefferson’s door and ringing the doorbell or knocking, the officer crept around the home like a cowboy. When he spotted Jefferson in the window, he opened fire and killed her. According to the lawsuit, Jefferson’s 8-year-old nephew Zion was in the room when he watched his aunt “Tay” fall to the ground and die.
“Well, I thought we had a burglar, so I stepped back, straightened up and drew my weapon,” Dean testified in court this week. “I couldn’t see the hands. So, I drew my weapon intending to tell that person to show me their hands.”
The suit says the city of Fort Worth “knew or should have known that Defendant Aaron Dean exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public,” and failed to adequately train or supervise police officers.
“By their deliberate indifference, Defendants the City of Fort Worth Police Department implemented and encouraged policies, practices, and customs with deliberate indifference to the rights of citizens,” the lawsuit stated.
Creeping around a home with your gun drawn, despite no threats and no reports of violence certainly illustrates the fact that Dean had no intention of peacefully ending this soon-to-be encounter.
“I mean it’s senseless. My daughter… had her whole life in front of her,” father Marquis Jefferson said last year. He then went on to note how he will not be offering hugs to his daughter’s killer like Botham Jean’s brother did in the courtroom after Amber Guyger was found guilty of his murder.
“I don’t want no hug. That’s my one and only daughter. I’ll never forget that,” Jefferson said.
In a rare move, as we reported in 2019, the body camera footage was almost immediately released, showing the killing take place. As the video shows, her killer never once announced himself as a police officer.
In the video, Dean sneaked around the side of Jefferson’s home without announcing himself. Any rational person would perceive this action as a threat. However, Jefferson never attacked the officer and instead walked up to a window to get a closer look. When the extremely trigger-happy and fearful officer saw her in the window, he made one short announcement before immediately killing her.
“Put your hands up. Show me your hands!” Dean said before immediately opening fire less than a second later.
After releasing the body camera footage, police held a press conference during which they took to smearing Jefferson. During the conference, police claimed the officer was “perceiving a threat” when he opened fire on Jefferson because she came to the window with a gun to protect her nephew from a prowler.
“Her only crime was love and protection for her nephew, not pointing a gun at a Fort Worth police officer,” Prosecutor Dale Smith said Thursday. And he’s right.
Jefferson was a Xavier University of Louisiana graduate who had no criminal record. She had committed no crime and harmed no one. She was murdered in her own home by people who claim to protect society. And because her killer was one of these people, he was given special privilege throughout the entire ordeal.
Now, that privilege has ended.
Below is the body camera footage and the 911 call.
Article posted with permission from Matt Agorist
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