Atatiana Jefferson Murder: Fort Worth Cop Who Fired Fatal Shots Resigned before He Could Be Fired
Aaron Dean, the white Fort Worth, Texas police officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home on Saturday, handed in his resignation before he could be fired.
Interim police Chief Ed Kraus made this known during a press conference on Monday. The announcement was posted to ABC-affiliate station WFAA’s YouTube page.
"My intent was to meet with him [Dean] today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department," Kraus said. "However, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met."
Kraus confirmed that despite Dean’s resignation, the department would continue its investigation into the tragic occurrence that shook the nation over the weekend.
"Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations of several policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct. A statement to that effect will be placed within the investigation to serve as a written record of that determination."
MURDER CHARGE & ARREST
"The separation paperwork that is sent to the state licensing agency, the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement will reflect that he [Dean] was dishonorably discharged from employment with the Fort Worth Police Department," Kraus added.
Jefferson’s killing is the ninth police-involved shooting in 2019 by Fort Worth Texas Police
Hours after the announcement of Dean’s resignation, he was charged with murder and booked into the Tarrant County Correction Center, NBC News reported. He was later released on a $200,000 bond.
CALLS FOR EXTERNAL INVESTIGATION
According to the outlet, Dean was initially placed on administrative leave and had not been cooperating with investigators. Meanwhile, an attorney for Jefferson's family, Lee Merritt, is calling for an external investigation.
"We don't think that Fort Worth police should be investigating it on their own," Merritt told CNN on Sunday. Merritt, however, noted that Jefferson’s family is "relieved" to hear about Dean’s arrest.
“We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing,” he tweeted. “The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.”
THE UNFORTUNATE TRAGEDY
According to the Fort Worth PD, at about 2:25 am on Saturday, officers responded to a non-emergency call from Jefferson’s neighbor who was concerned after noticing her front door had been left open, CBS News reported.
The department claimed that their officers saw someone near a window inside the home and that one of them fired after "perceiving a threat."
Bodycam footage released after the incident, however, showed an officer pointing a flashlight at Jefferson’s window and yelling, "Put your hands up — show me your hands," before firing a single shot at the African American woman.
AN INNOCENT WOMAN LOSES HER LIFE
Jefferson, 28, had reportedly moved into the house with her mother because the latter had health problems. She also often helped babysit her nephews, one of whom she was playing video games with when she met her untimely end.
The police confirmed that they didn’t park their marked vehicles outside Jefferson’s home. According to Merritt, the cops never announced themselves during the check but were "prowling and whispering" outside.
Jefferson’s family members are distraught; they described her as an ambitious and kind person. "[She was] simply going on along with her life, living a law-abiding citizen's peaceful life, and she was killed by a reckless act of a Fort Worth police officer," her sister Ashley Carr, said.
A NATION MOURNS
Jefferson’s death has sparked outrage across the nation and has public officials speaking out against the insensitive killing.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price, in an open letter, said she was "heartbroken" and apologized to Jefferson’s family "on behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth."
"This is a pivotal moment in our city, and we will act swiftly with transparency," she added after instructing City Manager David Cooke to hire a third-party panel of national experts to review the Fort Worth Police Department "from top to bottom."
As CNN sadly pointed out, Jefferson’s killing is the ninth police-involved shooting in 2019 by Fort Worth Texas Police. Seven of those incidents were fatal.
ANOTHER POLICE-INVOLVED MURDER
Meanwhile, last year, a white female police officer Amber Guyger, shot and killed her black neighbor Botham Jean in his Dallas, Texas apartment, about 30 miles from Fort Worth. Guyger, who was sentenced earlier this month to ten years in prison, claimed she mistook Jean’s apartment for hers.
Jefferson was a graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans, where she earned a bachelor's degree in biology and was thinking of furthering her education.
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