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Former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder for fatally shooting a woman in her own home

The death of Atatiana Jefferson over the weekend sparked outrage across the country

Former police officer Aaron Dean/(KMOV-TV video screenshot)

A former Fort Worth, Texas, police officer has been charged with murder for fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday, during what was purportedly a welfare check at the woman's home in response to a call from a concerned neighbor.

What are the details?

Aaron Dean was arrested Monday, just hours after resigning from the police force ahead of being fired amid widespread uproar over Jefferson's death. USA Today reported that the former officer is currently being held in the Tarrant County Corrections Center on a $200,000 bond.

Fort Worth Police Department Chief Ed Kraus said Dean would have been terminated if he had not resigned, and is considered dishonorably discharged. Kraus also told reporters the U.S. Justice Department will examine the case for possible civil rights violations. Dean is white, and Jefferson was black.

Officers arrived at Jefferson's residence around 2:30 a.m. Saturday morning, after her neighbor, James Smith, called the department's nonemergency number requesting a welfare check of the home. Smith was concerned because the door to Jefferson's house had been open for several hours, and he said that was out of the ordinary.

When the police showed up, Jefferson was at home playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who lived with her. Body camera footage released by the department shows Dean approaching a window at the residence while pointing his service weapon, yelling, "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" before firing the single shot that struck and killed Jefferson.

Dean had been on the force since April 2018.

Smith, the neighbor who called the police, told media outlets he partly blames himself for Jefferson's death. There are also questions about whether the officers responding to the call realized they were conducting a welfare check rather than a burglary call.

What did the mayor say?

KDFW-TV reported that Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price addressed both Jefferson's neighbor and nephew in a statement released Monday afternoon:

To Mr. James Smith, I know you are hurting today as well. You called police to check on your neighbor because you cared about her safety and wellbeing. You were being a wonderful neighbor and doing the right thing to make sure she was ok. You are the type of person we all want living next door, watching out for us. Atatiana's death has eroded your own sense of safety and trust in law enforcement. I'm truly sorry.

To Atatiana's nephew, who has witnessed an unspeakable loss — sorry doesn't really cut it. This entire city needs to surround him with prayers, support, and anything his family needs.




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