The father of the 28-year-old woman Atatiana Jefferson who was gunned down by a Fort Worth cop while minding her business in her home, says he is not about to forgive and forget the “senseless” killing on Saturday morning that has rocked his world.
“My daughter was 28-year-old, had her whole life in front of her. You have to know this is somebody’s daughter. Somebody loved her. There was a better way. It didn’t have to be like that,” Marquis Jefferson told KTXA Dallas.
Jefferson’s death has erupted in outrage across the nation after it was reported that a white police officer once again, killed a Black woman in their home. Jefferson was reportedly shot down in her home, just moments after she finished playing a video game with her 8-year-old nephew.
What’s even more jarring about the case is that the Fort Worth officer reportedly fired a single shot through the woman’s woman after scouting the outside of her home following a call her neighbor made to do a welfare check to see if the family was alright. The door of the home reportedly being open at 2:30 a.m. had caused the neighbor’s concern.
On Sunday, protestors lined the streets and demanded that the officer be fired immediately.
The case is already making national headlines with Sen. Bernie Sanders tweeting that the Justice Department needs to get involved.
“The killings of unarmed Black Americans have got to end,” Sanders tweeted. “Atatiana Jefferson should be alive.”
Elizabeth Warren tweeted that “federal standards for use of force that incorporate proven strategies like de-escalation, verbal warning requirements, and the use of non-lethal alternatives,” needs to be included in police reform.
What We Know
Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew early Saturday morning when she heard a noise in her backyard and went to investigate. That’s when she was shot by an officer through her bedroom window, according to police bodycam footage, heavy.com reports.
Just before 2:30 a.m. Oct. 12, the officer, whose name has not been released, responded to neighbor James Smith’s call that the front door to Jefferson’s home was open and the lights were on– something Smith found quite concerning.
According to multiple reports, the bodycam video does not show the officer announcing himself or knocking on the door. Instead, the cop walks to the side of the house, where he opens a gate to the backyard and uses a flashlight to search the exterior of the property. When he sees a person watching him from a window inside the house, he yells “Put your hands up. Show me your hands!” He then shoots through the window, less than a second later, – striking and killing Jefferson.
Lee Merritt, who represented Botham Jean’s family is also representing Jefferson’s family.
“You didn’t hear the officer shout, “Gun, gun, gun”. He didn’t have time to perceive a threat. That’s murder,” Merritt said after viewing the body cam video.
The case is already being likened to that of Amber Guyger who shot Botham dead in his own apartment last year.
Guyger was recently sentenced to 10 years and during her trial, Botham’s brother Brandt hugged his brother’s murderer and offered forgiveness, which upset many across the country who criticized the way the white police officer was handled with care during the controversial case. A courtesy that is often not given to Black suspects in similar cases.
Jefferson’s dad said outright there will be no forgiveness offered.
“Unlike this Botham Jean, I don’t want no hug,” he said. “That’s my one and only daughter. I will never forget that.”
Atatiana’s stepmother, Noella Jefferson, spoke lovingly about her step-daughter’s character.
Atatiana was a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana in 2014, where she earned her pre-med degree.
“When she was growing up, I read to her a lot. I bought her a lot of books,” Jefferson, the victim’s dad said. “Oh, she loved to read all the time. Her mother would tell me ‘She’s in there reading, reading, reading.’”
“We have lost her for no reason,” Noella said. “We have seen many cases like this where you think that they would have learned from it.”
“It’s like from the moment we got the call, it’s been more and more inconceivable and more confusing. And there has nothing been done in order to take away that confusion,” said Atatiana’s aunt, Venitta Body.
Jefferson’s grieving sister Amber Carr, said her killing is “’another one of those situations where the people that are supposed to protect us are actually not here to protect us.”
“You know, you want to see justice, but justice don’t bring my sister back,” Carr added.