UPDATED: 9:32 a.m. EDT, Oct. 21 —
The funeral for Atatiana Jefferson was postponed from being held over the weekend to an undetermined time and place after her father initiated legal action to stop the services from being held in Dallas on Saturday. The delay stemmed from an apparent family dispute that only added to what was already an emotional time for relatives of Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who was killed by a police officer who shot into her home early on the morning of Oct. 12.
Marquis Jefferson claimed through his lawyer that some of Atatiana’s other family members were keeping him from attending his daughter’s funeral, a place he said he has a right to be. However, Atatiana’s aunt, said last week during a press conference that “Mr. Marquise Jefferson” was “claiming to be her biological father.” Venitta Body said that Marquise Jefferson “is not” Atatiana’s father. The sister of Atatiana’s mother went on to say that he was not part of Atatiana’s “legal family.”
As of Monday morning, it was unclear when and where Atatiana Jefferson’s funeral would be. The lawyer for Marquise Jefferson’s father announced during the press conference on Saturday that the funeral would be held at Friendship-West Baptist Church in Dallas on Thursday. He also said her wake would be held at Golden Gate Funeral Home in Dallas on Wednesday.
Local news outlet WFAA reported that Marquise Jefferson and Amber Carr, Atatiana’s sister, were expected to meet Sunday to discuss how to move forward with the funeral plans together. He was reportedly scheduled to meet with a judge on Monday.
Previously it was announced that Atatiana Jefferson’s wake and funeral were going to be held on Friday and Saturday, respectively, with the latter being open to the public. The Rev. Al Sharpton was supposed to deliver special remarks and Bishop T.D. Jakes was supposed to deliver the eulogy. It was unclear if they would be participating in the rescheduled services.
The deadly episode that took Jefferson’s innocent life began after a neighbor called the police to do a wellness check at her house out of concern over her doors being open and lights being on at about 2:25 that morning. (That in itself set off a debate over when, if ever, Black people should call the police.)
The controversial shooting by now-resigned Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean came just about two weeks after the conclusion of another, very similar case in nearby Dallas, where former police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of murder for killing Botham Jean, an unarmed 26-year-od Black man, in his own home.
It was almost like it was déjà vu all over again.
Jefferson, a graduate of Xavier University in Louisiana, an HBCU, was remembered in part as a smart, loving person who enjoyed playing video games and spending time with her family. She had moved into the home where she was shot in order to take care of her aging parents. Her nephew was staying with her while his mother was having a medical procedure done.
The shooting sparked off a series of events that would see the Fort Worth Police Department follow all the steps that we’ve seen other law enforcement agencies do to try to villainize a shooting victim in death. Even if the shooting was perpetrated by a member of law enforcement who took a sworn oath to protect and serve.
Though Jefferson was the one shot in an ambush-like setting, the bodycam footage subsequently released by the Fort Worth Police Department was quickly called out for showing images of a gun that was in the home. An accompanying press release made sure to mention that Dean perceived “a threat” before shooting and officer, upon entering the house, located “a firearm.” Jefferson’s family lawyer argued the inclusion of that fact was irrelevant because she was legally licensed to own it in a state that allows such citizens to openly carry guns in public. Nevermind the fact that she was in the privacy of her own home.
Jefferson’s relatives and lawyer have demanded justice and want the Fort Worth Police Department recused from investigating itself, citing a laundry list of improprieties that lawyers say have helped perpetuate a culture of corruption and cover-ups on the force.
Scroll down to see some of the key moments in what is sure to become a case lasting many months.
1. Oct. 12 – Atatiana Jefferson is killed by Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean
2. Oct. 12 – Fort Worth Police Department tries to assassinate Atatiana Jefferson’s character in death
3. Oct. 13 – Jefferson’s neighbor explains why he called police for a wellness check
James Smith said he believes he partially responsible for Jefferson’s death.
4. Oct. 13 – Fort Worth Police doubles down
5. Oct. 13 – GoFundMe campaign begins
“Funds collected will go directly to funeral cost and other expenses associated with this tragedy,” the page says.
6. Oct. 13 – Neighbor’s call to police is partially released
7. Oct. 14 – Police delay interviewing Officer Aaron Dean
Instead of interrogating the person who killed another person, something that is customary, the Fort Worth Police Department allowed Dean the time to presumably get his story straight and scrub his social media accounts clean of any content that could be construed as incriminating.
8. Oct. 14 – Jefferson’s father slams the Fort Worth Police Department
9. Oct. 14 – Aaron Dean resigns
Nearly three full days after killing Atatiana Jefferson, Aaron Dean is finally identified as the trigger-happy police office, but not before he was able to resign without speaking to investigators. There was no mention of any criminal charges at this announcement.
10. Oct. 14 – Police say Dean is not cooperating
11. Oct. 14 – Dean is arrested and charged with murder
Following outrage from the public over Dean being allowed to resign without getting questioned or even charged, the disgraced former officer was hit with murder charges for killing Atatiana Jefferson.
12. Oct. 14 – Fort Worth holds candlelight vigil for Jefferson
13. Oct. 14 – Community leaders speak at candelight vigil
14. Oct. 14 – Residents testify about shooting at Fort Worth City Council meeting
15. Oct. 15 – Dean is bailed out
He spent less than four hours behind bars in what was probably an orchestrated and gentle arrest by Dean’s former police colleagues.
16. Oct. 14 – Jefferson’s family reacts
Jefferson’s family held a press conference after it was announced that Dean resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department.
17. Oct. 15 – Botham Jean’s family announces it plans to help Jefferson’s family
18. Oct. 15 – Atatiana Jefferson’s name is invoked during presidential debate
Texas native and Former HUD Secretary Julián Castro was the only person on the stage of 12 candidates to acknowledge the heinous shooting.
19. Oct. 16 – Jefferson’s funeral is announced
20. Oct. 16 – Dean refuses again to cooperate with police
21. Oct. 17 – Jefferson’s nephew reportedly struggling
The 8-year-old boy who witnessed his aunt get killed has been referred to counseling to hep him cop with the trauma.
22. Oct. 17 – NBA star Harrison Barnes offers to pay for Jefferson’s funeral
23. Oct. 18 – Beto O’Rourke meets with Jefferson’s family
24. Oct. 18 – Jefferson’s father halts Atatiana’s funeral
25. Oct. 20 – Marquise Jefferson meets with Atatiana’s sister
Atatiana’s father and her sister, Amber Carr, were reportedly set to meet to figure out a way to move forward with their loved one’s wake and funeral.