As previously reported on Oct. 12, 2019, Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her Texas home by a cop. Yesterday (Dec. 20), former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean was sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison for the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson. Jefferson, a 28-year-old black woman, was shot and killed by Dean, a white police officer, while she was inside her home. The shooting occurred after police received a call about an “open structure” at Jefferson’s home.
This is the first time a police officer in Texas has been convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting in nearly 40 years, according to The New York Times. Dean resigned from the police force hours before he was arrested and charged with murder in October 2019. He pleaded guilty earlier this month. In a statement released after the sentencing, Jefferson’s family said they were “satisfied” with the outcome but that “nothing will bring Atatiana back.” “We hope that her tragic death will shine a light on the actions of police officers and how they treat people of color,” the statement continued. “It is our sincere hope that no other family will have to go through what we have had to endure.”
In October, a Texas grand jury indicted Dean on a charge of murder, to which he pleaded not guilty. However, in November, he accepted a plea deal that reduced the charge to manslaughter. At his sentencing yesterday, Dean apologized to Jefferson’s family, saying “I am sorry for taking Atatiana’s life.” Atatiana Jefferson’s family had asked for the maximum sentence of 20 years in prison, but Dean was sentenced to 11 years and 8 months behind bars.
Hurtful for the family but hopefully will spark a change in the system to put officers on notice that they won’t be able to slide when they conduct themselves that way whether maliciously or out of negligence