On Oct. 14, 2019, days after a Fort Worth police officer shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home, the officer in question was charged with murder. The officer was identified as Aaron Dean, and he resigned rather than being fired for violating a number of policies in the department, according to Ed Kraus, Chief of Police.
According to court records, Dean was released on bond from Tarrant County Jail in the evening of the day that he was charged.
Some days before the arrest, Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus addressed the shooting at a press conference.
“I certainly have not been able to make sense of why she had to lose her life. On behalf of the men and women of the Fort Worth Police Department, I’m so sorry for what occurred,” said Kraus, also stating that he had planned to meet with Dean on Monday morning, but that Dean had resigned before he could do so.
Lee Merritt, the lawyer representing Atatiana Jefferson’s family, released a statement saying that the family was relieved to hear of Dean’s arrest.
“We need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & appropriate sentencing,” said Merritt in the statement. “The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a brutal culture of policing.”
Kraus stated that if Dean hadn’t resigned, he would be fired anyway for countless violations of the departments policies, including the force and de-escalation policy, as well as misconduct. Jefferson’s grieving family disagreed, stating that he should have never had an option to resign.
“He should have been fired before this,” said Adarius Carr, Jefferson’s brother, in an interview with an ABC News reporter.
Jefferson’s sister, Ashley Carr also spoke on the shooting.
“I want justice for my sister, I want her death not to be in vain,” said Carr, who then explained that her sister was a pre-med graduate from Xavier University of Louisiana who had dropped her career plans to care for their sick mother. Jefferson had also been helping their sister, Amber, who had recently endured heart surgery, by taking care of her two children. One of these children, Jefferson’s nephew Zion, witnessed the shooting of his aunt.
Meritt said that the next step the Jefferson’s are hoping for is for Dean to suffer the consequences of his actions.
Kraus said an internal investigation as well a criminal investigation of Dean would go underway, furthermore stating that paperwork had been sent to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement for Dean to be officially, “dishonorably discharged from the Fort Worth Police Department.”
The police chief had made the announcement after releasing a picture taken of a handgun allegedly located in Jefferson’s home, enraging Mayor Betsy Price.
“The gun is irrelevant. She was in her own home caring for her 8-year old nephew. Atatiana was a victim,” said Price.
While Kraus apologized for the police department’s mistake, Price has already vowed to create a, “third-party panel of national experts to review this department.”
Meanwhile, Adrius Carr hopes people remember his sister’s legacy.
“I want everyone to remember my sister like I remember her: Just a fun-loving, easy-going, hilarious young lady who just wanted to serve and be better, make sure our family was good,” said Carr. “A very beautiful soul, absolutely. My life is upside down without her.”