One of the joys of writing for RedState, so far as I’m concerned, is getting feedback from our law enforcement readership on stories concerning police officers.
So those of you with a background in such, please chime in. The same goes for those without — you’ll no doubt have strong opinions.
Here we go:
In Fort Worth Saturday, a tragedy occurred.
It’s one that looks to have made no sense.
As reported by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, at around 2:25 a.m., a non-emergency call was placed by a concerned neighbor: The front door of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson’s house was standing wide open. Her lights were on.
The neighbor knew she was home with her 8-year-old nephew; he described the lights and gaping entrance as “unusual.”
As indicated by bodycam footage released Sunday, the officers scanned the perimeter with flashlights, whispering to one another just outside the residence.
While looking into a window, one policeman hurriedly shouts, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!”
He then fires a single shot into the bedroom.
The video concludes with two still shots of what, as per the Fort Worth Police Department, include a handgun found in the bedroom.
Was Atatiana ever holding that gun? We don’t know.
But here’s what we do: She died from the officer’s bullet right there.
She was shot from outside in the dark while standing in her own home.
In the clip, the officer never identifies himself as law enforcement. Additionally, the neighbor — James Smith — claims the cops parked around the corner. Therefore, Atatiana wouldn’t have been aware of a police presence.
Here’s how the department summed up the incident to the Star-Telegram:
“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence. Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care.”
See for yourself, but be warned: The footage is disturbing.
Personally, I come from a place where guns are as common as socks, and anyone sneaking around someone’s house at night is absolutely begging to get shot.
And that’s how the video looks to me. In my opinion, if I may say so, the officers are lightfootin’ it like cat burglars.
That’s how Atatiana’s family termed it, too — prowlers.
From The Daily Wire:
According to attorney S. Lee Merritt, who is representing Jefferson’s relatives, Jefferson was inside the home playing video games with her nephew. Believing that the police were prowlers, she went to the window to try to see who was outside and was shot, Merritt said.
But is that characterization wrong?
There’s also this:
Though the released footage features images of a handgun found in the home, police have not said if she was holding the gun when the officer fired.
Asked by the Star-Telegram if Jefferson was holding the weapon and what exactly the officer perceived as a threat, the department declined to answer, a department spokesman telling the outlet in an email, “Being the preliminary stages of this critical investigation we have provided all the information we have available to release at this time.”
Neighbor James told reporters he’d only made the call because he was concerned for Atatiana.
He’s now stricken by regret:
“I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault. If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.”
At a community event mourning Atatiana’s loss, Rev. Michael Bell put it this way:
“The Fort Worth police murdered this woman. They murdered this woman in her own house. And now, African Americans, we have no recourse. If we call the police, they will come and kill us. And we know that.”
Lawyer Lee chose the same word:
“There was no reason for her to be murdered. None. We must have justice.”
The officer who fired the shot was placed on administrative leave. He’s since resigned.
As relayed by Fox News:
[Police Chief Ed Kraus] on Monday identified the officer involved in the shooting as Aaron Dean. He said Dean was placed on detached duty and stripped of his badge and firearm after he was served with his written administrative complaint yesterday.
“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department. However, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met,” Kraus told reporters Monday. “Even though he no longer works for the city, we will continue the administrative investigation as if he did. The case will be completed and reviewed by the chain of command.
“Had the officer not resigned I would have fired him for violations of several policies including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct,” Kraus added.
In a Facebook post Saturday, Lee said Atatiana was a pre-med graduate of Xavier University who was “very close to her family” and trying to have fun with her nephew playing video games.
What are your thoughts? I want to hear from you. The video, as always, may not tell the whole story; but from what we know, how would you define this terrible story?
I look forward to knowing.
Find all my RedState work here.
Thank you for reading! Please sound off in the Comments section below.