Atatiana Jefferson was at home, minding her own business when she apparently heard something outside. She grabbed her gun and looked out the window to investigate.
She was shot and killed by the individual making the commotion outside.
Tragic as this was, it was made worse because the individual outside was a uniformed police officer.
In an era when there’s already a heightened animosity toward law enforcement, this went over about like a Taco Bell fart in church.
Now, the officer is on trial, and he claims Jefferson pointed the gun at him.
The former Fort Worth police officer charged with murder for the 2019 shooting of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson in her own home testified Monday he fired at her because she pointed a gun at him.
“As I started to get that second phrase out, ‘Show me your hands,’ I saw a silhouette,” the former officer, 38-year-old Aaron Dean, said. “I was looking right down the barrel of a gun, and when I saw the barrel of that gun pointed at me, I fired a single shot from my duty weapon.”
Dean said he had his weapon out because he believed the home was in the midst of being robbed. He fired at her through the window “because we’re taught to meet deadly force with deadly force. We’re not taught that we have to wait,” he said.
That’s true, they are taught that.
However, Dean acknowledged during examination that he pretty much screwed up just about every other aspect of his training that night.
Yet in cross-examination, he admitted many of his actions that night were “bad police work,” including firing without seeing her hands or what was behind her, failing to tell his partner he saw a gun and rushing into the home without fully ensuring it was safe.
“You’ve got another fellow officer from the Fort Worth Police Department entering a home which you have determined to be a burglary in progress with a possible armed assailant, and you didn’t think to tell your partner, ‘Hey there’s a gun inside?’” prosecutor R. Dale Smith asked.
“No,” Dean said.
“You didn’t think to tell her, ‘Hey I saw somebody with a gun?’” Smith asked.
“No,” he said.
There’s a lot to unpack in this case, but the big one for me is that Jefferson was inside her home. She had a lawfully owned firearm in her possession, and since her home wasn’t actually the site of a burglary, she had every reason to be suspicious of people moving around outside of her home.
And she was shot and killed for it.
Further, there’s no indication, even in the report here of Dean’s testimony, that he identified himself as a police officer. All Jefferson could see was some dude with a flashlight shining at her and demanding she show him her hands.
I don’t know that I’d comply with that, either.
While I tend to be more understanding of law enforcement than some due to my late father’s career in that field, the truth is that Jefferson had every right to be armed in that instance, had every right to investigate what was happening right outside her home, and had every right to have survived the situation.
Instead, she’s dead because a cop shot her.
It should also be noted that body cam footage doesn’t actually show if Dean could see a gun or not. Sure, he’s saying that now, but would he actually admit on the stand that he didn’t see a firearm? Of course, Jefferson was indeed armed and her nephew claims she was pointing it at the window, so it’s possible.
Of course, all that information has been in the media for a while, so it’s also possible Dean is trying to cover his butt.
Look, I know cops have a tough job. I get it.
But we as American citizens have a right to defend our home. That means we should be able to be armed and investigate disturbances outside of our homes without worrying about the police gunning us down. This happened to Atatiana Jefferson, but it could have happened to any of us.