Texas policeman faces charges after fatally shooting black woman in her home
|National Post 14 Oct 2019 at 17:37|
Oct 14 (Reuters) — A white Fort Worth, Texas, police officer has resigned and faces criminal charges after he shot dead a 28-year-old black woman inside her home, the city’s police chief said on Monday.
Atatiana Jefferson was killed on Saturday at 2:30 a.m. by a single shot from officer Aaron Dean when he fired through a window into her home as she cared for her 8-year-old nephew. Dean was responding to a call from a concerned neighbour who said Jefferson’s door was open.
Fort Worth Police Chief Edwin Kraus said he was unable to “make sense” of Jefferson’s death, saying the only time police should fire into an occupied home was if they were fired upon from within.
“Had the officer not resigned, I would have fired him for violations of several policies,” Kraus told reporters. “Despite his resignation, the officer still faces criminal charges.”
Jefferson’s family on Monday called for a federal investigation and Dean’s swift prosecution.
“This man murdered someone; he should be arrested,” said her brother Darius Carr.
Kraus said police had presented the case to the Federal Bureau of Investigation to review Dean’s actions for possible civil rights violations.
Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price said the city would bring in a panel of national experts to review police actions.
“There is nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning, nothing,” Price said.
This man murdered someone; he should be arrested
Jefferson was shot dead the same month former Dallas police officer Amber Guyger was convicted of shooting and killing unarmed black man Botham Jean inside his own apartment.
Body camera video showed Dean and his partner approaching Jefferson’s home with flashlights. As Dean looks through a bedroom window, he suddenly yells, “Put your hands up, show me your hands,” then fires. He does not identify himself as a police officer.
The two officers did not knock on the front door of the home and instead went into the backyard, where the shot was fired, Kraus said.
Police over the weekend released a picture showing a firearm inside Jefferson’s home. Community leaders criticized the move, saying it suggested police were blaming Jefferson for her death.
Kraus apologized for publication of the photo, saying Texas homeowners had every right to access a firearm if they believed someone was outside their home.
He did not know if Jefferson was holding the gun at the time of the incident, adding that the weapon was found “just inside the window.”
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