Fort Worth officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson has resigned amid investigation

Star Telegram

Fort Worth police announced at a news conference Monday that the officer who shot and killed a woman in her home Saturday has resigned.

Chief Ed Kraus identified the officer as Aaron Dean. He said he was going to fire the officer if he had not resigned Monday morning.

Kraus said a criminal investigation is ongoing and he expects to release an update by Tuesday. The FBI also has been briefed to investigate possible civil rights violations, he said.

Kraus said his intention was to fire the officer for violating policies, including the use-of-force policy. Because Dean resigned, he no longer has the protection of state civil service laws.

Kraus said Dean has not cooperated with the investigation and has not answered questions from investigators.

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by a Fort Worth police officer is not justified.

“Atiatiana was an amazing, smart woman who was unjustly taken from her family,” she said. “I cannot imagine anything worse and I am so sorry … there is nothing that can justify what happened.”

Price further commented on the image released of a gun found in Jefferson’s home. She said the gun was irrelevant and that Jefferson had a right to have a gun in her home.

Kraus said the police department has reached out to the Texas Rangers to discuss the possibility of the state law enforcement agency taking over investigation of the shooting, but nothing has been finalized. Kraus also said that he had forward information to officials with the FBI who have not responded with an answer.

It is late in the process for them to want to come in on an investigation, Kraus said.

City Manager David Cooke said a third-party group will come in to review current Fort Worth police policies and training practices.

Cooke said city officials are reaching out to experts in the field and once they finalize the plan, they will present that to the city council in the next few weeks.

Asked what he would tell residents who don’t trust police, Kraus said, “I tell them I get it. No one looked at that video and thought there’s no doubt this officer acted inappropriately,” Kraus said.

More training for officers is needed and will be done, he said.

“Most officers I have encountered over the last couple of days have said, ‘Chief, this is not how we operate,’” he said.

Cooke also revealed a panel of three nationwide experts will be convened to take a hard look at police department training, de-escalation and use of force policies. This will be separate and apart from a police monitor who is also being sought.

The panel of three experts is expected to review police procedure and policy and make recommendations to the City Council as to what what powers the monitor and the people he will supervise should possess.

Atatiana Jefferson was shot at her home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday after her neighbor called police to request a welfare check at the home.

At 2:25 a.m., two officers were sent to the house, police said. At 2:29 a.m., they parked nearby, but not in front of the house. They investigated on foot and went into the backyard.

The other officer who was with Dean is being treated as a witness to the shooting, Kraus says.

“The officer observed a person through a rear window in the house and fired a shot at that person,” police said in a written statement Sunday. “The officer did not announce that he was a police officer prior to shooting. What the officer observed and why he did not announce ‘Police’ will be addressed as the investigation continues.”

In a statement Saturday, Fort Worth police said the officer, “perceiving a threat,” drew his gun and “fired one shot striking the person inside the residence.”

Body camera footage of the shooting shows two officers using flashlights to check the perimeter of the house, inspecting two doors that are open with closed screen doors. At the back of house, one officer appears to see a figure through a dark window, and he quickly twists his body to the left.

“Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” he shouts through the window, his gun drawn. He then fires a single shot through the window, killing Jefferson.

Dean was commissioned as a licensed peace officer last year in April.

Jefferson was a pre-med graduate of Xavier University in New Orleans and working on pharmaceutical equipment sales, said S. Lee Merritt, a civil rights attorney retained by Jefferson’s family. She was considering going back to medical school.

Leaders and community activists called for accountability and police reform after Saturday’s shooting. The Fort Worth Police Officers Association urged Fort Worth police to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation in a statement Sunday.

Merritt said Jefferson’s death is another example of excessive use of police force in Fort Worth. Since June, Fort Worth officers have shot seven people, six of them fatally.

This shooting took place days after a Dallas police officer, Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting a black man who she mistook as an intruder inside of his apartment, which she inadvertently entered.

In Guyger’s case, the Texas Rangers were called upon to investigate the shooting.

https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/crime/article236195198.html

19 thoughts on “Fort Worth officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson has resigned amid investigation

  1. I’m sure they obtained a blood sample from the pig immediately following the murder of Ms. Jefferson to be sent for toxicology….uh huh

    Love to her family and friends

    ‘shot at her home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue at about 2:30 a.m. Saturday after her neighbor called police to request a welfare check at the home.’
    ‘ after her neighbor called police ‘……..these effin ‘do-gooders’ should go down as accomplices!

      1. Sorry. For some reason, I don’t get the pay first block out of the story. I certainly don’t pay for it and never will.

          1. Earlier today, I sent one in for posting from the Fort Worth paper about the family’s response and them calling for a third party investigation (calling the Police Dept. and Tx Rangers not, shall we say impartial… trustworthy… 😉 ) I got an email from Henry and Laura that they were hit with the pay first block so I looked for something from another source. Dallas Morning News was the closest I could find. Some links will allow a certain number of views each month. Then they hit you. Guess I just haven’t reached my limit yet with those two. I know the LA Times, Washington Post, and NY Times ( even my Tx hometown Bryan Eagle) do it. Didn’t know the Ft. Worth Star Telegram and Dallas Morning News did.

      1. “The front door was open, but a screen door was closed at the house.
        Merritt said the family had left the doors open because it was one of the first nice evenings of the fall season. Jefferson had moved into the home to help care for her ailing mother.
        She was playing Call of Duty with her 8-year-old nephew, Zion.
        Zion was in the room when Jefferson was killed and saw his aunt fall to the ground, Merritt said.”

        1. Yeah, I reached my limit I suppose. More and more it’s pay to read. No thanks, I’ll dig around elsewhere if it’s gonna cost me to read it.

  2. Here’s the second, most current (the first was about the protest at the vigil last night) Dallas story, Katie:
    Updated at 7 p.m.: Revised to reflect that Dean has been booked into jail.

    The Fort Worth officer who fatally shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her home this weekend was jailed on a murder charge Monday.
    Aaron Dean was booked into the Tarrant County Jail Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. He resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department after he fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home Oct. 12.
    Aaron Dean was booked into the Tarrant County Jail Monday, Oct. 14, 2019. He resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department after he fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson in her home Oct. 12.(Tarrant County Jail)

    Aaron Dean, 34, was booked Monday evening into the Tarrant County Jail. He had resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department earlier in the day.

    Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said he had intended to fire Dean, who was set to be interviewed Monday morning, but Dean quit first. His record will reflect a dishonorable discharge.

    Kraus said Dean resigned before he answered any questions.

    Dean, who had been on the force since April 2018, has not been cooperative, the chief said.

    “He resigned before his opportunity to be cooperative,” Kraus said.

    The chief said the department normally investigates officer-involved shootings with two separate but concurrent processes: an internal affairs investigation and a criminal investigation, with the criminal investigation taking precedence.

    Jefferson’s family called for an independent investigation into the shooting at a news conference Monday morning.
    28-year-old shooting victim Atatiana Jefferson
    28-year-old shooting victim Atatiana Jefferson(Family photo courtesy of NBC5)

    Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s oldest sister, said her sister had recently moved home to care for her mother, who was in declining health and remained hospitalized Monday.

    The night she was killed, Jefferson was simply enjoying life in her home, “where no one would have expected her life to be in harm’s way, especially not at the hands of a civil servant who had taken the oath to serve and protect,” Carr said.

    Relatives and their attorney, Lee Merritt, called for the federal government to investigate the shooting, citing the department’s recent record of officer-involved shootings. Since June 1, Fort Worth officers have killed six people, including Jefferson. One other person was wounded.

    Merritt said the department was in need of “serious systematic reform.”

    “I want to go ahead and dispel the myth that this is somehow a one-off — that this was just a bad-luck incident from an otherwise sound department,” he said. “The Fort Worth Police Department is on pace to be one of the deadliest police departments in the United States.”
    Amber Carr, left, wipes a tear as her sister Ashley Carr, center, talks about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson, their brother, Adarius Carr, right and attorney Lee Merritt, standing, listen during a press conference at 1910 Pacific on Monday morning, October 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot and killed in her home by a white Fort Worth police officer during a welfare check.
    Amber Carr, left, wipes a tear as her sister Ashley Carr, center, talks about their sister, Atatiana Jefferson, their brother, Adarius Carr, right and attorney Lee Merritt, standing, listen during a press conference at 1910 Pacific on Monday morning, October 14, 2019 in downtown Dallas. Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot and killed in her home by a white Fort Worth police officer during a welfare check.(Irwin Thompson / Staff Photographer)

    Carr, reading a statement from the family, asked officials to follow the example of her sister’s character.

    She asked the city to “be honorable when it comes to narrating the memory of this beautiful soul.”

    “To have integrity and bring the federal government in to investigate,” she continued. “To be committed to a swift and appropriate prosecution. To serve the entire community of Fort Worth by training your officers to execute responses to appropriate situations.”

    Activist Cory Hughes, who also spoke at the news conference, called for the officer who shot Jefferson to be “charged like the criminal that he is.”

    “This life mattered. This family matters, and we’re demanding justice,” he said. “We’re not going to wait. We demand justice now.”

    The department has submitted the case for a possible review by the FBI, which will accept or reject it based on a decision whether civil rights violations occurred.

    The department stripped Dean of his badge and firearm Sunday, the same day it served him with a written administrative complaint in relation to the shooting.

    If Dean had been fired, it would have been for violations of Fort Worth police policy on use of force, de-escalation and professional conduct, Kraus said.

    “We received many calls from the community expressing their concerns and demands,” he said. “I assure you as chief for this department I share those concerns and I demand a thorough, transparent and speedy investigation. This will not be an opportunity for us to make excuses but rather to investigate this case to the fullest, to provide the justice we all seek for Atatiana.”
    Ft Worth Mayor Betsy Price, left, as to Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus, talks during the Fort Worth Police Department’s press conference about the officer involved shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex on Monday, October 14, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas.
    Ft Worth Mayor Betsy Price, left, as to Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus, talks during the Fort Worth Police Department’s press conference about the officer involved shooting of Atatiana Jefferson at the Bob Bolen Public Safety Complex on Monday, October 14, 2019 in Fort Worth, Texas. (IRWIN THOMPSON/Staff Photographer / Staff photographer)

    The department will continue its internal investigation as if Dean were still an officer, the chief said.

    Dean could face criminal charges despite his resignation, Kraus said, and the department has said there will be an update Tuesday on the criminal investigation.

    State law enforcement records show Dean’s most recent training was 40 hours of crisis intervention training in August. He became a full-time peace officer April 13. 2018, and earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Texas at Arlington. No law enforcement history besides Fort Worth police, is listed on his record.

    It’s unclear whether Dean has an attorney. The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas said in a written statement that its legal team will represent the former officer.

    Jefferson’s relatives emphasized their hope that the federal government or another outside organization will investigate the shooting.

    Adarius Carr, Jefferson’s brother, told reporters that his 12 years of service in the Navy had shown him that someone who fails to follow procedures needs to face consequences.

    “I’ve been trained and taught that there are pre-planned responses to everything you do,” he said. “When you don’t do it the way you’ve been trained, the way you’ve been taught, you have to answer for that.”

    He called for the officer’s arrest.

    “This man murdered someone,” he said.

    Kraus said the Texas Rangers are not in an ideal position to take over the investigation because they would be doing so late in the process.

    City Manager David Cooke said the city is on track to consider candidates in November for a police monitor position, as previously recommended by a city task force. The city is also reaching out to national experts to form a third-party panel that will review police policies and training, Cooke said.

    The chief was asked what he says to people who say cases like Jefferson’s are the reason they don’t trust Fort Worth police.

    “I tell them I get it,” Kraus said. “Nobody looked at that video and said there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately. I get it.”

    He said the department wants to ensure that its officers are better trained and that they act the way citizens expect — “with a servant’s heart, rather than a warrior’s heart,” he said.

    Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a link to a Dallas Morning News column about the shooting. He shared the headline: “The outrageous death of Atatiana Jefferson: What was Fort Worth cop possibly thinking when he shot?”

    “That’s the key question,” he said in the post.

    On Sunday, police said Dean never identified himself as a police officer before he shot Jefferson through a bedroom window. Her 8-year-old nephew, with whom Jefferson had been playing a video game late into the night, was in the room when she was shot. Jefferson died at the scene.

    The nephew saw his aunt fall to the floor after she was shot, the family’s attorney said Monday. The boy will begin to undergo counseling this week.

    The boy’s mother and one of Jefferson’s older sisters, Amber Carr, said the child has been helping her stay strong since the shooting.

    “In the middle of the night when I’m crying, he wakes up and tells me to breathe in my nose and out my mouth. He holds me, he hugs me,” Amber Carr said. “These are the things that I should be doing for him, but he’s not reacting in that manner.”

    Amber Carr described Jefferson as a doting aunt to her nephews — sometimes people assumed they were Jefferson’s sons.
    Protestors gather outside the house (right) where Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot in her home by a white Fort Worth police officer during a welfare check.
    Protestors gather outside the house (right) where Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed, during a community vigil for Jefferson on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019, in Fort Worth, Texas. Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot in her home by a white Fort Worth police officer during a welfare check.(Smiley N. Pool / Staff Photographer)

    Police were called about 2:30 a.m. to Jefferson’s mother’s home in the 1200 block of East Allen Avenue after a neighbor, James Smith, called a police non-emergency line to report that the doors to the home were open and all the lights were on.

    Kraus said that though Jefferson’s neighbor James Smith called a non-emergency number to ask for a welfare check at her home, the officers were not aware of that fact.

    The responding officers received information from dispatch about an “open structure” call, which Kraus said requires a more heightened response than a welfare check.

    Kraus said officers will typically park down the street and approach with caution when responding to open structure calls. It would be normal for officers to announce themselves on a welfare check, but not if they thought the incident might involve a criminal situation, he said.

    Two officers were dispatched to the scene. Body-cam footage shows the officers in the backyard of the home before Dean spins toward a window, shouts at Jefferson to put up her hands and then shoots her through a window — all in a matter of seconds.

    Read more: Questions and outrage after Fort Worth officer fatally shoots 28-year-old woman in her home

    Police also released a still image of a firearm found in the home where Jefferson was shot. Merritt, the family’s attorney, said that the firearm was legally owned and that Jefferson had a license to carry it.

    He criticized the department for releasing the image without context and said it insinuated a “bad act or blame” on Jefferson’s part.

    Kraus, the police chief, said that in hindsight, releasing the image of the gun wasn’t the right call.

    Mayor Betsy Price, speaking at the police news conference Monday afternoon, said the gun was irrelevant.

  3. “The video included images of a gun inside a bedroom. Kraus said he did not know whether Jefferson was holding the weapon. But he said the mere fact she had a gun shouldn’t be considered unusual in Texas.
    ‘We’re homeowners in Texas,’ the police chief said. ‘Most of us, if we thought we had somebody outside our house that shouldn’t be and we had access to a firearm, we would be acting very similarly to how she was acting.’ Kraus said that, in hindsight, releasing the images of the weapon was ‘a bad thing to do.’ ”
    https://www.aol.com/article/news/2019/10/14/police-officer-has-been-charged-with-murder-in-the-shooting-of-a-black-woman-in-her-home/23837168/

  4. Is it possible for a private contracted mercenary thug to be arrested? They must have left this perk out of his contract.

  5. “City Manager David Cooke said a third-party group will come in to review current Fort Worth police policies and training practices.”

    Fox/henhouse.

    Whitewash coming.

    “… Amber Guyger, was sentenced to 10 years in prison for shooting a black man who she mistook as an intruder inside of his apartment, which she inadvertently entered.”

    Mistook? Inadvertently???

    Obviously a jew owned rag.

  6. they want us to fear Terrorists …we have a war against Terrorism

    yet these punks are US Nationals under the color of law ..Terrorizing us all daily and murdering us with impunity …y’all picking up what Im laying down here?

    when does the War On Terror here, really get any attention?

Join the Conversation

Your email address will not be published.


*