Monday, October 14, 2019
Here We Go Yet Again
A black woman was fatally shot in her home Saturday after a Fort Worth, Texas police officer fired into a bedroom window while performing a welfare check at her residence, sparking outrage and calls for police accountability in a community whose trust in law enforcement had already been shaken by other police shootings and the death of Botham Jean in nearby Dallas.
At around 2 am local time on October 12, a neighbor of 28-year-old Atatiana Koquice Jefferson called a non-emergency hotline, saying that he was concerned about an open door at the woman’s residence and wanted to make sure she was okay.
According to a statement released by the Fort Worth Police Department, officers arrived at the home at around 2:25 am, and after seeing the open door, walked around the perimeter of the residence. The department said that while doing so, officers saw a person inside standing near a window. “Perceiving a threat the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” police said.
That person was Jefferson, who was shot while standing in a bedroom. After firing, officers entered the home and began providing emergency aid, but the woman was pronounced dead at the scene. The department released body camera footage of the shooting on Saturday, showing what happened outside of Jefferson’s home, as well as the residence itself, which had a door open and the lights on inside.
The video shows two officers walking around the outside of Jefferson’s home, looking into screen doors before walking into the backyard. Moving towards a closed window on the first floor, one of the officers quickly points a flashlight at it before drawing his weapon. He then yells, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before firing a shot less than a second later.
At no point in the released video do the men clearly identify themselves as police officers.
In addition to the statement and the body camera video, the police department also released edited footage of a firearm officers said they found at the residence, but did not offer any additional information about where Jefferson was in relation to it or if the weapon was ever visible to the officers.
Texas is an open carry state, and state residents are allowed to possess and carry firearms with few exceptions.
The officer who shot Jefferson was not named by the police statement. The agency did say that he is a “white male who has been with the department since April of 2018.”
The unnamed officer has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of an investigation.
Body camera footage and the results of the investigation will be handed over to the Tarrant County District Attorney’s office, which will decide if the officer will face any charges.
The shooting has left Fort-Worth’s black residents devastated at Ms. Jefferson’s shooting, which is the seventh local police shooting involving a civilian since June 1 according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,
This shooting has left the area’s black residents angered and confused. Community members say that the shooting proves that they cannot call the police for assistance. “The Fort Worth police murdered this woman. They murdered this woman in her own house,” said Rev. Michael Bell, a local pastor who joined a group of community leaders for a Saturday press conference. “And now, African Americans, we have no recourse. If we call the police, they will come and kill us. And we know that.”
A similar fear was echoed by James Smith, the neighbor of Jefferson’s who called police after noticing the open door and lights at her home, saying that he was concerned about Jefferson and her 8-year old nephew, who also lived at the residence. “I’m shaken. I’m mad. I’m upset. And I feel it’s partly my fault,” he told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram on Saturday. “If I had never dialed the police department, she’d still be alive.” “I don’t know what went on in the house, but I know that she wasn’t a threat,” he added
Another African-American...Another UNARMED African-American shot to death in their home by a frightened white police officer.. I swear, I've never seen so many scared people WITH GUNS, in my life...If you're so scared..If you're that scared..Why did you you join the fuckin police force in the first place??
It angers me...I know what's going to happen ...They are going to use the fact that they found a firearm in the house to say the police officer had a "reasonable threat." and therefore was justified in the shooting..
I don't want to hear another white person say that Colin Kaepernick was kneeling and insulting our military and the flag..NO! HE WAS KNEELING AND PROTESTING THIS...and those who don't understand that...DON'T WANT TO!