Atatiana Jefferson’s family files lawsuit against city, officer who shot her

Both of Jefferson's parents were gone within months of her death at the hands of a now-former Fort Worth policeman.

Relatives of Atatiana Jefferson have filed a civil suit against the city of Fort Worth, Texas and now-former officer Aaron Dean, who shot and killed her in her home.

Dean fired at Jefferson when a concerned neighbor called a non-emergency police number requesting a wellness check after noticing her house’s exterior doors open at 2 a.m. on Oct. 14, 2019.

This Oct. 2019 photo shows a mourner at Concord Church in Dallas, Texas before the start of the funeral service for Atatiana Jefferson at her casket. (Photo by Stewart F. House/Getty Images)

Two Fort Worth officers walked around the yard of Jefferson’s home, allegedly without identifying themselves. Jefferson pulled out a gun and pointed it at the window when Dean demanded her to “put her hands up.” He then fired through the window, killing the 28-year-old, who was playing video games with her young nephew.

Body camera footage later confirmed that neither officer had identified themselves as police.

Read More: California ‘Karen’ with taser demands Black neighbors act ‘white’

Her father, Marquis Jefferson, died of cardiac arrest just weeks after his only child’s shooting. Her ill mother, Yolanda Carr, for whom she was caring, died within months.

The family said Jefferson’s tragic shooting contributed to her parents’ untimely deaths.

Dean later resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department and was indicted on murder charges. He’s out free on $200,000 bail.

Read More: GoFundMe for slain Louisiana teen Quawan Charles raises over $265K

The wrongful death lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Texas by Jerome Eschor, Jefferson’s biological dad; Venitta Body, her aunt, and Arita Eschor, another relative.

According to CNN, the Jefferson kin’s “complaint accuses the city and the former officer of being ‘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.'”

Read More: Detroit social justice group suing police asks why election protesters were treated differently

“Defendants acted with high disregard for the rights of others, and their conduct was extreme and unreasonable under the circumstances,” the complaint read.

The murder case against Dean has been delayed until at least August 2021 due to a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic. His attorney offered no comment on the civil complaint as he is bound by a gag rule in the criminal case.

Have you subscribed to theGrio’s “Dear Culture” podcast? Download our newest episodes now!
TheGrio is now on Apple TV, Amazon Fire and Roku. Download today!