Atatiana Jefferson

Murdered While Gaming: Atatiana Jefferson, The Innocent Black Woman Killed by Police

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Atatiana Jefferson was 28 years old and had just moved into her mother’s home to care for her as she recovered from unrelated injuries. Atatiana was close with her eight-year-old nephew Zion, who belonged to her sister Amber. Everyone in Atatiana Jefferson’s family described her as a “smart, ambitious, kind person with a nurturing spirit.” Her dad also showed much praise for his beloved daughter, sharing memories of how much she loved to read and how they would discuss new books together. Another hobby of Atatiana Jefferson was gaming, and on the early hours of October 12th she was gaming with her nephew; not knowing that it would be the last time. She would unfortunately be robbed of her life.

Atatiana Jefferson and her nephew Zion
Atatiana Jefferson and her nephew

At 2:23 a.m. on Oct. 12, a Fort Worth named James Smith called a non-emergency number, 311, to ask for a wellness check at his neighbors’ home. Smith allegedly reported to the operator the fact that his neighbor’s doors were open and all the lights were on. Their cars had also been in the driveway, which he deemed to be suspicious. Two officers, including officer Aaron Dean, arrived on scene a couple minutes later. Body cam footage that can be viewed online shows exactly what happened next…

Officer Aaron Dean passed by the open door without knocking or making himself known to those inside the residence. He walked around the side of the house with a flashlight. Officer Dean then paused by a window then shouted the words “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”. Not two seconds later, Officer Aaron Dean opened fire without giving Jefferson or her nephew any time to react appropriately. Officer Dean struck Jefferson, and the officers allegedly offered CPR but poor Atatiana Jefferson was already dead. Jefferson had been gaming with her nephew when she was murdered.

What’s happening with Atatiana Jefferson’s murderer, Officer Aaron Dean?

On Monday, Officer Aaron Dean was revealed to the public as the man who murdered Atatiana Jefferson. Fort Worth Police Chief Kraus was apparently due to fire the officer on Monday, but Aaron Dean had reportedly already resigned form his position. As of now Officer Aaron Dean has officially been charged with the murder of Atatiana Jefferson and he has been booked into the Tarrant County Jail, according to police. He has also been given a bail bond of $200,000.

Although Officer Aaron Dean should be rightfully charged, does this bring true justice for the loss of innocent life? This is another in the growing number of incidents that has seen police officers murdering innocent people, with most of them being African-American. Had Officer Dean proceeded with the call appropriately like any officer should be trained to do then Atatiana Jefferson could still have her life today.

But clearly, these police officers don’t value the safety of their community enough to follow protocols. Perhaps the problem goes deeper than a lack of correct training?

Prayers to the family of Atatiana Jefferson

I’m sure many of you are as disgusted as we are at reading this news, but what can we do about it? We must continue to put pressure on our local police to appropriately train and select the officers that patrol our communities; but sadly, you just never know the type of person you’re dealing with until they’re presented with an opportunity to pull the trigger. One would think that body cams would be enough to prevent officers committing such senseless acts, but clearly putting a gun in the hand of an inconsiderate monster will only lead to more incidents like this one.

We must keep the memory of Atatiana Jefferson alive and offer her family all the support they need to get what they qualify as justice. And when unfortunate stories like these ones come around, we must continue to spread the word so that these police departments know just how much pressure they’ll be under if they continue to let officers operate in this way.

This story comes so close after all the controversy over the Amber Guyger case. Do we see a pattern here?

— Credit to artist NIKKOLAS for the featured image.
— Source: Time

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