A former Texas police officer who fatally shot a Black woman, Atatiana Jefferson, at her home back has been convicted of manslaughter, years after the deadly shooting took place.
Back in October 2019, a white cop, Aaron Dean, fatally shot Jefferson, a Black woman, during an “open structure call” after leaving her front door open.
Jury Deliberated For Over 13 Hours Before Fighting White Officer Guilty Of Fatally Shooting Black Woman
The jury deliberated for over 13 hours before ultimately finding Dean guilty of manslaughter, WFAA reports.
Once sentenced, he could get up to 20 years in prison.
“If you can’t feel safe in your own home, where can you feel safe?” prosecutors said during closing arguments. “The power you have today is to hold him responsible, it’s to tell them [Atatiana’s family] that it all wasn’t in vain, it’s to say that she [Atatiana] matters,” prosecutors told the jury, WFAA reported. “They matter, eastside matters. To say that we protect everyone.”
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Ex-Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter for 2019 fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman, through a window of her home. pic.twitter.com/OgLJZRFaEY
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) December 15, 2022
Ex-Officer’s Lawyer Claims His Client Was Acting In Self-Defense After Victim Pointed Gun At Him
Bob Gill, Dean’s attorney, tried to spin the situation during closing arguments, claiming he was acting in self-defense and that Jefferson forfeited her rights after aiming a handgun at him, according to WFAA.
“A tragedy doesn’t always equal a crime; it doesn’t always equal a law violation,” Dean’s attorney said during closing statements. “She [Atatiana] pointed a firearm at a Fort Worth police officer… the rights stop there,” Gill said. “It’s a crime and it’s an unlawful act.”
Meanwhile, Dean is set to be sentenced at 8:30 a.m. on Friday, according to Dallas Fort-Worth’s local NBC affiliate.
Dean did not immediately respond to a request for comment, PEOPLE reports.
Atatiana’s Young Nephew Takes The Stand During Ex-Cop’s Trial, Recalls Events Leading To Deadly Shooting
Atatiana’s 11-year-old nephew, Zion, took the stand during Dean’s trial, having been on scene to witness the fatal shooting. He was only eight at the time of the incident.
The boy told jurors that he and his aunt were playing video games inside her home when they heard a noise. Zion went on to say that her front door was open, because they had burned hamburgers and wanted to air out smoke the home.
The sound prompted Jefferson to get her gun and move toward the window, ABC News cited Zion as saying. Body cam footage shows Dean as he tells Jefferson to “put your hands up, show me your hands,” before shooting into the window.
A bullet ended up hitting Jefferson, killing the 28-year-old.
Officer Resigned After Being Placed On Leave, GoFundMe Raises Over $250K In Donations
The call Dean had responded to, known as an “open structure” or “open door call” is much different than a wellness check, according to Michael “Britt” London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association.
Dean resigned after initially being placed on administrative leave, having been with the Fort Worth Police Department since April 2018.
A GoFundMe for Atatiana’s family has already raised $258,374 out of a $250,000 goal from 8,500 donations. Those who wish to donate can do so here.