The sister of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Fort Worth, Texas woman who was fatally shot by police in 2019, filed a $10M wrongful death lawsuit, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.
Ashley Carr filed the suit on Wednesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas – Fort Worth Division. It names the city of Fort Worth, as well as Mayor Betsy Price, former police chief Ed Krauss, and Aaron Dean, the officer who took her life, as complicit figures in her sister’s death.
The suit is separate from a federal wrongful death suit filed by the Jefferson side of Atatiana’s family last fall.
Dean was indicted on murder charges in December 2019 and is scheduled to face trial in August over the fatal shooting due to COVID-19 delays.
In the suit Carr claims the pain and trauma which followed her sister’s fatal shooting resulted in the death of their mother Yolanda Carr, who died 90 days after Atatiana’s death. Atatiana’s father Marquis Jefferson passed away from a heart attack just weeks after she was shot.
The suit says the Fort Worth Police Department “displayed a consistent and systematic failure” during training and supervising officers regarding excessive force and de-escalation techniques, specifically when interacting with Black community members. Carr points to 14 instances where excessive or deadly force was used resulting in the death of Black and brown community members.
Dean’s personal history was also listed as evidence as to why he should have never been hired, which pointing out that in 2004 he plead guilty assaulting a woman at the University of Texas.
In addition, a 2018 performance review found that Dean exhibited “tunnel vision” after repeatedly missing calls for assistance over police radio, and exhibited “poor communication skills” with his colleagues and the public.
Jefferson was fatally shot by now-former officer Dean while she was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew on Oct. 12, 2019. Police were called to her home as an act of goodwill by a neighbor who called a non-emergency line after he observed that the front door of their house was ajar in the early morning hours.
Moments later Dean and another officer parked near the home and approached the home through the back yard. After Dean shone a flashlight through the window he shot from the outside, striking Atatiana who was standing in the window as she went to investigate the noise.
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