Family of Atatiana Jefferson Files Lawsuit Against Fort Worth, Texas, and the Ex-Officer Who Shot and Killed Her

A mourner pays respects before the start of the funeral service for Atatiana Jefferson on October 24, 2019, at Concord Church in Dallas, Texas. On October 12, 2019 Jefferson was at home with her nephew when Fort Worth police officer Aaron Y. Dean, who was responding to a non-emergency call, fired one shot through a window, killing her. Dean has since resigned from the department and been charged with murder.
A mourner pays respects before the start of the funeral service for Atatiana Jefferson on October 24, 2019, at Concord Church in Dallas, Texas. On October 12, 2019 Jefferson was at home with her nephew when Fort Worth police officer Aaron Y. Dean, who was responding to a non-emergency call, fired one shot through a window, killing her. Dean has since resigned from the department and been charged with murder.
Photo: Stewart F. House (Getty Images)

Family members of Atatiana Jefferson—the 28-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by a Fort Worth, Texas, police officer on Oct. 12, 2019, while she was watching her 8-year-old nephew at her mother’s house after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report an open door—have filed a federal wrongful death lawsuit against the former police officer and the city.

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The Associated Press reports that the lawsuit filed last week in the Northern District of Texas was brought by Jefferson’s biological father, Jerome Eschor, Arita Eschor and her aunt, Venitta Body and it names the city of Fort Worth and the former officer who shot Jefferson, Aaron Dean, as defendants.

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From AP:

The lawsuit says Dean “intentionally and with conscious, callous, deliberate and unreasonably indifference” used excessive force in fatally shooting Jefferson.

The Fort Worth police department said it was not able to comment on the lawsuit.

The suit says the city of Fort Worth “knew or should have known that Defendant Aaron Dean exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public,” and failed to adequately train or supervise police officers.

“By their deliberate indifference, Defendants the City of Fort Worth Police Department implemented and encouraged policies, practices, and customs with deliberate indifference to the rights of citizens,” according to the lawsuit.

The lawsuit—which was amended Tuesday, according to CNN—also states that Dean and the city were “deliberately indifferent to protecting Atatiana Carr a/k/a Atatiana Jefferson from harm by systematically failing to provide adequate training and supervision to its officers, uphold Atatiana Carr a/k/a Atatiana Jefferson’s constitutional rights, and providing urgently needed medical care.”

As The Root has previously reported, Dean was charged with murder not long after the shooting and he was indicted by a grand jury in December 2019. According to CBS Dallas-Ft. Worth, a Texas judge has tentatively set an August 2021 trial date after the original trial date was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zack Linly is a poet, performer, freelance writer, blogger and grown man lover of cartoons

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DISCUSSION

I wish that the officer could be held personally liable.