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Family Of Atatiana Jefferson Sues City Of Fort Worth, Former Police Officer

Atatiana Jefferson's face
Jefferson's family via Associated press
Atatiana Jefferson

The family of Atatiana Jefferson has sued the city of Fort Worth and former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean for the wrongful death of Ms. Jefferson in October of 2019. The suit seeks compensatory and punitive damages.

The death of 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson rocked the city of Fort Worth, the police department and city officials. Late on the night of Oct. 11, 2019, a neighbor called police, worried about Ms. Jefferson, whose front door was left open. It was a relatively innocent call.

Officer Aaron Dean first walked to the front door, then went to the back of the house, flashlight in hand, whispering to his partner, according to his body camera. He saw Jefferson through the window, yelled for her to show her hands and in a split second, shot her dead through the glass.

Dean, who’s white, never identified himself as an officer and hadn’t knocked on the front door. What was intended as a neighborly check on Jefferson, who is Black, prompted protests of racism and police brutality in the aftermath.

Dean resigned from the force two days after the fatal shooting and was arrested. In December 2019, the former Fort Worth police officer was indicted on a murder charge by a grand jury. His trial is scheduled for sometime later this year.

The suit alleges Dean illegally shot Jefferson, then failed to render medical aid. It also alleges the police knew or should have known Dean exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public.

The city of Fort Worth said it has no comment at this time.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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Bill Zeeble has been a full-time reporter at KERA since 1992, covering everything from medicine to the Mavericks and education to environmental issues.