A white police officer has been charged with murder after shooting an unarmed black woman through the window of her home.
Authorities say Aaron Dean fatally shot 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday, before being arrested and then charged with murder on Monday night.
Fort Worth Police Department announced his arrest and confirmed he’s being held at Tarrant County Jail, with a bond set at $200,000.
According to reports in the MailOnline, Dean was called to Jefferson to perform a wellness check after a neighbour noticed her front door was open at around 2.30am on Saturday.
They called a non-emergency police number asking them to do a welfare check as they knew the woman was home with her 8-year-old nephew.
Footage captured on a body camera shows one of the officers shining flashlights into a window in the home, before Dean fired a single shot, killing Jefferson.
You can watch the bodycam footage of the incident here. It contains scenes some viewers may find upsetting:
Jefferson was reportedly playing video games inside the house with her nephew when she heard noises outside. She went to the window to check if there was someone outside, which is seemingly when the officer saw her and fired a shot.
Speaking to Fort Worth Telegram-Star, her neighbour said the community looks after each other, and he only called the non-emergency number out of concern for her welfare, as Jefferson and her nephew usually live with an older woman who had recently been in hospital.
He said: ‘When I saw the doors open, I thought about [the child], I thought about his grandma, I thought about his aunt. And I wanted to make sure they were safe. That’s all I wanted to do.’
During a press conference, a Fort Worth Police spokesperson said:
The Fort Worth Police Department would again like to express our deepest condolences to Ms. Jefferson’s family.
We understand that this is a tough and tragic event, not only for the family, but for the community.
We value the trust we have with our community. We will continue to build that trust. And we will continue to be as transparent as possible in all police matters.
The spokesperson continued:
To the citizens and residents of our city, we feel and understand your anger and disappointment.
And we stand by you as we work together to make Fort Worth a better place for us all.
Jefferson’s family attorney, Lee Merritt, said the family are ‘relieved’ that Dean has been jailed on a murder charge.
He said the family ‘needs to see this through to a vigorous prosecution and appropriate sentencing,’ adding that ‘the city of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.’
According to interim Fort Worth police chief Ed Kraus, Dean had tendered his resignation on Monday afternoon, explaining the department had been preparing to terminate the officer’s employment.
Officer Involved Shooting – Oct. 12, 2019 pic.twitter.com/tCvn4nySjg
— Fort Worth Police (@fortworthpd) October 12, 2019
Kraus explained Dean may still face civil rights violations as well, and ‘no longer has the protections of state civil service law’.
Dean is yet to hire himself an attorney, however his legal bills will be paid by Texas’ largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, according to Charley Wilkison, the group’s executive director.
During the same press conference, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called the killing ‘unjustified.’
I’m so sorry. On behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth, I’m sorry.
To Atatiana’s family, it’s unacceptable. There is nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677.
Emma Rosemurgey is an NCTJ trained Journalist who started her career by producing The Royal Rosemurgey newspaper in 2004, which kept her family up to date with the goings on of her sleepy north east village. She graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston and started her career in regional newspapers before joining Tyla (formerly Pretty 52) in 2017, and progressing onto UNILAD in 2019.