Ex-Cop Who Shot, Killed Atatiana Jefferson Convicted

Aaron Dean found guilty of manslaughter
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2019 6:30 AM CST
Updated Dec 16, 2022 12:11 AM CST
Ex-Cop Who Shot, Killed Atatiana Jefferson Indicted
This undated photo provided by Jefferson's family shows Atatiana Jefferson.   (Jefferson's family via AP, File)
UPDATE Dec 16, 2022 12:11 AM CST

The former Texas cop who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson as she played video games with her 8-year-old nephew was on Thursday convicted of manslaughter in the 28-year-old's death. Aaron Dean faces up to two decades behind bars when the trial's sentencing phase begins Friday, CNN reports. Dean was charged with murder and pleaded not guilty, but the jury was on Wednesday instructed to also consider manslaughter, a lesser charge. On the stand, Dean continued to insist he fired in self-defense, but also admitted some of his actions, including firing before seeing what was behind Jefferson or in her hands, were "bad police work." "How he is sentenced is going to send a message not only to him but to other law enforcement to not be so trigger happy when you see somebody of color," says minister and activist Rev. Crystal Bates.

Dec 21, 2019 6:30 AM CST

The former Texas police officer who fatally shot a woman as she babysat her 8-year-old nephew was indicted by a grand jury Friday on a murder charge, NBC News reports. Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old pre-med graduate student, was playing video games at home with the boy when Aaron Dean, 35, shot her through a window while responding to a call about the front door to the home, which belonged to Jefferson's mother, having been left ajar. Dean quickly resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department and was arrested within days of Jefferson's October death, but as CBS News explains, "all police shootings go before a grand jury, which issues charges."

"Atatiana’s family is relived but remain cautious that a conviction and appropriate sentence is still a long way away," S. Lee Merritt, the family's lawyer, tweeted. "Keep pushing." Bodycam video shows Dean shooting less than a second after ordering Jefferson to "Put your hands up—show me your hands," and without first identifying himself as a police officer. Jefferson's nephew told authorities his aunt took a handgun out of her purse and pointed it toward the window when she heard noises outside, but police say she had the right to protect herself. "He murdered my baby in my home," Jefferson's ailing mother told Fox 10 via video conference from her hospital room. "And I know she wasn’t doing anything. She didn’t do anything wrong." (Jefferson's father died soon after she did.)

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