A WHITE officer who shot and killed a black woman in her bedroom has been charged with her murder.
Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was fatally shot by a Fort Worth police officer on Saturday while she was looking after her eight-year-old nephew in Texas. The pair had been playing video games.
The officer, Aaron Dean, was arrested and charged with murder today. He was released on a $200,000 bond.
In a statement, civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who is representing the Jefferson family, said: “The family of Atatiana Jefferson is relieved that Aaron Dean has been arrested and charged with murder. We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing. The city of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.”
Police were responding to a call to a non-emergency line at around 2.25am on October 12 when the fatal shooting took place.
The front door to the Jefferson’s home was reported to have been open. During the officers’ search of the perimeter, they observed a person standing inside by the window. It was then that Dean drew his weapon and fired, police reported.
Jefferson was hit with a single shot and died at the scene, it has been reported.
Body camera footage shows that Jefferson was shot seconds after she was seen through a window.
On the video, the officer can be heard shouting: “Put your hands up, show me your hands.”
The officers does not identify themselves and did not park their marked vehicles outside Jefferson’s home.
In a statement, Fort Worth police department expressed its “deepest condolences” to Jefferson’s family.
It said: “We continue to acknowledge that this is a tough and tragic event not only for her family, but for our hurting community as well.”
It added: “Our major case and internal affairs units are continuing to work around the clock to ensure no stone is left unturned and justice for Ms Jefferson’s family and community is served.”
Fort Worth police chief Ed Kraus said that if Dean had not resigned he would have been fired.
“There’s absolutely no excuse for this incident and the person responsible will be held accountable. Ms Jefferson’s family and our community will have the last word, the courts will speak on their behalf,” Kraus said during a press conference today.
He revealed that Dean did not give a statement to the investigators.
In a statement released by Fort Worth police department, it was mentioned that officers located a firearm in the property.
Responding to a reporter’s question in relation to the gun, Kraus said: “It made sense that she would have a gun if she felt that she was being threatened or that there was someone in the backyard.”
Jefferson was described by her family as a “smart, ambitious, kind person with a nurturing spirit”.
A graduate with a BA degree in biology, Jefferson had been committed to furthering her education and had moved into her family home to care for her mother as her health deteriorated.