Texas officer who shot Girl in her House arrested on murder charges
The police officer who fatally shot a Fort Worth, Texas, girl in her home when answering a call to get a welfare check was arrested on murder charges. The charge comes after the officer abruptly resigned on Monday just before he was going to be fired for supposedly violating multiple division policies, the police chief said.
The officer, identified before Monday as Aaron Dean, was released on bail from Tarrant County Jail late Monday, according to court documents.
“I certainly have never been able to make sense of why she needed to lose her life,” Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus said in a news conference ahead of the arrest, with regard to the early Saturday morning killing of Atatiana “Tay” Jefferson. “On behalf of the women and men of the Fort Worth Police Department, I am so sorry for what happened.”
Civil rights lawyer Lee Merritt, who represents the family, released a statement saying the family was”relieved” Dean was detained.
“We will need to see this through to a vigorous prosecution & proper sentencing. The City of Fort Worth has much work to do to reform a savage civilization of policing.”
Kraus recognized the officer who took Jefferson, 28, as Dean, who had been hired by the police force in August 2017 and was commissioned as a certified peace officer on April 13, 2018.
The police chief said that he had been scheduled to meet with Dean on Monday morning, but the officer tendered his resignation before they had an opportunity to meet.
“Had the officer never resigned, I’d have fired him for violations of many policies, including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy, and unprofessional conduct,” Kraus said.
However, Jefferson’s grieving family said Dean should haven’t been given the choice to resign.
Jefferson’s sister, Ashley Carr, added that while her family welcomed apologies in the police chief and other town officials, including the mayor, she told ABC News, “It is not the end result we are searching for.”
“I need her death to not be in vain.”
She said that her sister was a pre-med graduate of the Xavier University of Louisiana, who dropped her career ambitions to return home to Texas to take care of their ailing mother.
“The chance to resign is a slap in this household’s face and it is a slap in the community’s face,” Merritt said. “He should haven’t been given that choice. The expression is’a bad apple spoils the bunch.’ However, the barrel is rotten from the centre.”
Kaus said an internal investigation and a criminal investigation of Dean would move, which he has delivered a preliminary report of the shooting to the FBI to review Dean’s activities for potential civil rights violations.
Kraus said Dean hasn’t been cooperating with the investigation, adding,”He resigned before his chance to collaborate.”
The chief had said before the arrest he had been getting regular updates on the criminal investigation against Dean and expected he would have the ability to supply the public with a”substantial update” no later than Tuesday.
He also explained Dean’s separation paperwork could be mailed to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement, the agency responsible for licensing and certifying peace officers, and”will reveal he has been dishonourably discharged from the Fort Worth Police Department.”
Kraus made the statement after Mayor Betsy Price voiced outrage over the shooting and berated the police department for releasing a photograph of a handgun found in Jefferson’s house, stating,”there is nothing that could justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.”
“The gun is immaterial.
Kraus echoed the mayor, saying the photograph of the gun which was released to the public” was a lousy thing to do” and was apparently intended to”show what the perceived threat may have been.”
He said the gun was found just inside the window where Jefferson, who, according to her loved ones, had a license to carry a concealed weapon, was shot.
“I can not imagine most people, if we believed we had someone outside our home which shouldn’t be there and we had access to a firearm, we would not act very similarly to the way she behaved,” Kraus said.
However, Merritt said he interpreted the move as an effort to”cast aspersions on Tay, to provide this officer (Dean) an outside.”
After spending the weekend hearing from outraged community residents, and relatives and friends of Jefferson, Price apologized on behalf of the city of Fort Worth.
“We’re all heartbroken today. Atatiana was a gorgeous, smart, amazing young woman by all accounts, that had been unjustly taken from her loved ones,” Price said. “The whole town is in pain. As a mother, grandmother, a sister, an aunt, I can not imagine anything worse and I am so sorry.”
Calling the situation a”pivotal moment for the city,” the mayor said she had ordered the creation of a”third-party panel of national experts to critique this section.”
Fort Worth City Manager David Cooke declared he will build an independent review board to the police department and will start interviewing applicants for an independent police monitor.
Before getting news of Dean’s resignation, Jefferson’s relatives demanded the officer be immediately fired and arrested, and that the federal government take responsibility for the investigation.