UPDATED: 8:27 p.m. EDT —
The white former police officer who killed an innocent Black woman while she was in her Texas home has been charged with murder. The criminal charges came nearly three full days after then-Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean shot through Atatiana Jefferson‘s window and killed her early Saturday morning.
Jefferson’s family lawyer, civil rights attorney S. Lee Merritt, announced Dean’s arrest Monday evening.
Even with the arrest, it was unclear how cooperative Dean, who resigned earlier Monday, would be moving forward. Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus said that Dean “resigned before his opportunity to cooperate.”
If this isn’t a “sounds about white” story, nothing is. The ex-cop who killed 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her own home while she was playing video games with her nephew is not cooperating with police.
Yep, just another day in America.
According to the New York Daily News, Interim Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus said Officer Aaron Dean resigned and that he has not cooperated with police officers.
He also said, “Nobody looked at this video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately.”
Fort Worth Police Officers Association President Sgt. Manny Ramirez started, “I feel like we had some failures here. It never should have happened.”
Aaron Dean, who responded to a wellness check request before shooting and killing Atatiana Jefferson, quit working for the Fort Worth Police Department hours before it was expected that he would be fired.
As of now, he has not been arrested.
An image purportedly of Dean emerged on social media shortly after his name was announced.
On early Saturday morning, an officer responded because a concerned neighbor requested a wellness check. Jefferson died about 2:30 a.m. local time after the officer killed her in her own home by shooting his gun through a window. Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her nephew.
In a subsequent press release announcing the shooting, Fort Worth police claimed the officer was “Perceiving a threat” at the time. The press release also said that officers saw “a firearm” when they entered Jefferson’s home and found her. The Fort Worth Police Department then reportedly released an image of that firearm, even though there was no claim of that gun being used or even wielded during the one-sided encounter. Texas is a state with laws that permit citizens to openly carry guns.
Jefferson was reportedly shot within four seconds of the officer arriving.
According to local news outlet WFAA, police held a press conference Sunday and offered no explanation for why they “released images of a gun in Jefferson’s bedroom, what those images were intended to convey, or what may have prompted the officer to fire his weapon.”
Merritt started a GoFundMe page to help pay for the 28-year-old’s funeral and related costs. According to her Facebook and LinkedIn pages, she worked at and attended the historically Black college Xavier University of Louisiana.
The neighbor who called the non-emergency police number in Fort Worth said he only reached out to police because he found it curious that her lights were on and her door was open at such a late hour. James Smith said he was concerned because he said he knew Jefferson’s young nephew was there with her. But now, Smith said he regretted contacting law enforcement about Jefferson, who he called his friend.
Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Atatiana Jefferson.