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Who is Aaron Dean? Former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson

Who is Aaron Dean? Former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson

A Texas jury found a former police officer guilty of manslaughter on Thursday, after he shot Atatiana Jefferson through the window of her home in 2019.

Former Fort Worth Officer Aaron Dean, who is White, shot the 28-year-old Black woman through a rear window of her Texas home while responding to a call about an open front door.

Who is Aaron Dean? Former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson
Aaron Dean

Dean was also charged with murder by the jury, but he was convicted of manslaughter instead. Before convicting him, the jury deliberated for more than 13 hours over two days.

At the time, Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew, who told authorities his aunt pulled out a gun after hearing suspicious noises behind the house.

Dean and another officer were called to the house after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that Jefferson’s front door was open. During the trial, it was revealed that Jefferson and her nephew left the doors open to allow smoke from hamburgers that the boy had burned to escape.

Atatiana Jefferson
Atatiana Jefferson

The incident was captured on body camera, and Dean and the other officer did not identify themselves as police officers.

Dean and Officer Carol Darch testified that they thought the house might have been burglarized and quietly moved into the fenced-off backyard looking for signs of forced entry.

Dean then fired a single shot through the window after ordering Jefferson to show her hands.

He claimed he had to shoot because Jefferson pointed the barrel of a gun directly at him. But he later admitted that his actions before and after the shooting were “bad police work.”

Darch testified that Dean never mentioned seeing a gun before he pulled the trigger and didn’t say anything about a gun when they ran inside to search the house.

Who is Aaron Dean? Former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson
Aaron Dean sits by himself during a recess after he was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson, Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, at the Tim Curry Criminal Justice Center in Fort Worth, Texas.

Jefferson’s nephew, Zion Carr, was in the room when his aunt was shot. He gave conflicting accounts of whether she pointed the gun out the window.

Carr, now 11, testified on the first day of the trial that Jefferson always had the gun pointed down, but in an interview recorded shortly after the shooting and played in court, he said she had pointed the weapon at the window.

Dean, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison, and the sentencing phase of his trial is scheduled to begin on Friday. Following the verdict, he was booked into the Tarrant County Jail.

Who is Aaron Dean? Former Texas police officer convicted of manslaughter in fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson
Adarius Carr, right, holds his sister Ashley Carr’s hand as they leave the 396th Circuit Court after Aaron Dean was found guilty of manslaughter in the shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson,

Jefferson’s death shattered the trust that police had been attempting to build with communities of color in Fort Worth, a city of 935,000 located about 30 miles west of Dallas that has long been plagued by complaints of racially unequal policing and excessive force.

The shooting drew swift rebuke from the city’s then-police chief and Republican mayor, who at the time called the circumstances “truly unthinkable” and said Jefferson having a gun was “irrelevant.”

source:summarybio.com