After only being behind bars for four hours, former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean is back on the streets. It’s a disturbingly development in a heartbreaking story.
The Associated Press reports, “Jail records show Aaron Dean, 34, was out of custody after posting bond Monday night, less than four hours after his arrest in a shooting that began with a call about an open front door. He had been held on $200,000 bond. Earlier in the day he resigned from the force, and the police chief said he would have been fired if he hadn’t.”
Dean wasn’t even hit with criminal charges until nearly three he 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.
Dean’s mugshot was released soon afterward.
The arrest came only hours after Dean tendered his resignation and quit the police force before Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Krause said he planned to fire the trigger-happy cop. Krause also said that Dean was not being cooperative with police.
Police Chief Ed Kraus said during the press conference that Dean “resigned before his opportunity to cooperate.” Kraus said he planned to fire Dean before finding out he quit. It was unclear why Krause did not fire him on Saturday or Sunday. Dean was apparently never even interviewed about the shooting before being placed on paid administrative leave.
There are already striking similarities with Dean and Amber Guyger. The former Dallas police officer who shot and killed Botham Jean in his own home last year was shielded from the public and afforded the time to scrub her social media (although not well enough) in an attempt to delete racist posts, Guyger was finally terminated nearly three weeks after she killed Jean.
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. Jefferson was reportedly shot within four seconds of the officer arriving.
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.
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.