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Fort Worth Moves Forward With Highway Memorial To Atatiana Jefferson

Police Shooting in Home Cooling Off Period
David Kent
In this 2019 photo, flowers lie on the sidewalk in front of the house in Fort Worth, where a white Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean, shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman, through a back window of her home.

Tuesday, the Fort Worth City Council voted in support of a proposal to name a section of I-35 for Atatiana Jefferson.

In 2019, white Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean fatally shot Jefferson, a Black woman, through the window of her home.

Now, the city plans to honor her with a memorial designation on a stretch of highway from Downtown Fort Worth to South Loop 820.

Dean shot and killed Jefferson while responding to a call from neighbors concerned about Jefferson's doors being open and the lights being on late in the evening. He was indicted for murder in December 2019.

District 8 Fort Worth City Council member Chris Nettles said the vote will send a strong message to the community.

"Fort Worth has the opportunity to again show its heart," Nettles said. "And not only its heart, but to let a statement be made known."

In October, the city renamed a portion of Allen Avenue and Maddox Avenue in Jefferson’s memory.

District 3 Council member Michael Crain, who voted in favor of the proposal, said he had issues with the process regarding how things are named in the city.

"Across the board, I think there is a process problem that it took two years to get here," Crain said. "There probably should be a process for public citizens to nominate, be a part of the system."

The city proposal will now go to the Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT), with a map identifying and designing prospective memorial marker locations. If approved, TXDOT will authorize the construction, with the city covering all of the costs.

Got a tip? Ana Perez at You can follow Ana on Twitter @anabpez9.

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Corrected: September 15, 2021 at 3:13 PM CDT
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that Fort Worth City Council member Michael Crain voted against the highway renaming proposal. He voted in favor.
Ana Perez is a KERA News producer and the intern coordinator for the station.