On Friday, a Texas grand jury indicted former Fort Worth police officer, Aaron Dean for the murder in the fatal shooting of Atatiana Jefferson.
The shooting occurred on October 12 when Dean and another officer responded to a house call after a concerned neighbor noticed the front door of a house, which belonged to Jefferson’s mother, was left ajar and requested a welfare check.
Jefferson had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew inside. Dean approached the house through the backyard area and, according to police and body camera footage, failed to identify himself before firing his weapon, striking Jefferson.
The bodycam video released publicly shows the perspective of an officer outside the home, peering into a window using a flashlight and spotting someone inside standing near a window and telling her, “Put your hands up — show me your hands.” A single shot is fired seconds later.
According to an arrest warrant, Jefferson’s nephew told authorities that she had taken a handgun from her purse when she heard noises outside and pointed it toward the window. But police have said she was within her rights to protect herself.
Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson’s family, tweeted that they are relieved with the indictment, but “remain cautious that a conviction and appropriate sentence is still a long way away.”
In the week after Jefferson’s death, Tarrant County prosecutors said they had enough evidence to ask for the grand jury indictment, and said in a statement “we will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.”
The case led to a rare murder charge against a police officer in the United States when Dean was initially arrested just days after the incident occurred. He resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department prior to his arrest.