Former Texas Cop Found Guilty of Manslaughter in 2019 Death of Atatiana Jefferson
A former Forth Worth, Texas, police officer was found guilty of manslaughter on Thursday for the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson.
Aaron Dean shot and killed Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who had been playing video games at home with her 8-year-old nephew at the time of the shooting. Deam was responding to a call a concerned neighbor made to a nonemergency line around 2 a.m. after noticing Jefferson’s door was left open.
During the trial, Dean took to the stand and claimed he fired at Jefferson because she pointed a gun at him.
The verdict comes more than three years after Dean and his partner responded to Jefferson’s home.
After the incident, Dean resigned and was charged with the killing of Jefferson.
Though the Fort Worth police department released body camera footage of the shooting and arrested Dean relatively quickly, the trial was delayed multiple times in part due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Dean’s lead attorney having a terminal illness.
On Wednesday morning, the jury received the case after closing arguments in which the state portrayed Dean as a power-hungry former police officer whose preconceived notions about the neighborhood where Jefferson lived tainted his conduct the night of the shooting.
The defense also countered that Dean fired his weapon in self-defense in what attorneys said was a tragic accident but not a criminal act.
Trial testimony, which touched on fraught issues of race, police violence, gun rights, and body-camera footage, began on December 5 a. The trial itself included six days of testimony and arguments that centered on whether Dean saw Jefferson was armed before he shot her.
Dean faces up to 20 years in prison for manslaughter.