Sister of Atatiana Jefferson Files Lawsuit Against Fort Worth Mayor, Ex-Police Chief and Ex-Officer Involved in Death
In this photo taken on Monday October 14, 2019, flowers lie on the sidewalk outside the Fort Worth, Texas home where a white Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean shot Atatiana Jefferson, a black woman, through a rear window of their home. Dean was not heard on the bodycam video identifying himself as a police officer, and interim Police Chief Ed Kraus said there was no sign that Dean or the other officer who responded even knocked on the front door. Dean resigned before being charged with murder.
Last November, The Root reported that a lawsuit had been filed against the city of Fort Worth, Texas and former police officer Aaron Dean who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson on October 12, 2019 while she was watching her 8-year-old nephew at her mother’s home and after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report an open door in the house. The lawsuit, which is pending, was filed by Jefferson’s biological father, his aunt, and another relative. Now Jefferson’s sister has filed a similar lawsuit against the city, the former officer, former police chief and the mayor.
The Dallas Morning News reports that Ashley Carr – Jefferson’s sister and the proposed administrator for the estates of Jefferson and her mother Yolanda Carr, who passed away early last year – on Wednesday filed a federal lawsuit against Fort Worth, Dean, and former police chief Ed Kraus Mayor Betsy Price.
The US $ 10 million damages lawsuit alleges that Dean, who was charged with the murder of Jefferson’s death, used excessive force in shooting and fatally shooting Jefferson, and that despite his alleged story of excessive force being used by police not controlled by police station.
From the Dallas News:
Ashley Carr’s lawsuit alleges Dean used excessive force, which resulted in Jefferson’s death, and that the department failed to properly screen and monitor him. His training records mentioned a 2004 attack quote for touching a woman’s chest and concerns.
The lawsuit alleges that the police agency “has shown a consistent and systematic failure to properly train and monitor its officers in the proper use of force”. It lists more than a dozen cases dating back to fatal shootings by Fort Worth officials in 2005 and other cases of allegations of excessive violence, including the arrest of Jacqueline Craig in 2016.
The lawsuit also finds racial differences in the arrests of officials in Fort Worth as well as among the division’s ranks.
Jefferson’s story is one of many that led black people to warn friends and family members never to call the police on their behalf unless there are no other options. It is also a reminder of how the second amendment often only applies to blacks on paper, and how protecting our homes and loved ones while arming can keep us at risk from both intruders and the police officers who are supposed to do so and serve us.
This is all part of how systemic racism works in policing and why protests against police violence continue.