Texas is just barely getting over the Botham Jean killing and now a Fort Worth police officer has mistakenly killed another black person. At 2:30 am on Saturday, police were called by a neighbor to make a welfare check on a home. The neighbor was concerned because the door was open to the house. (There is some confusion in the different articles about who lives in the house. It’s either the victim’s mother or grandmother, the victim and the victim’s nephew).
Police arrived and began searching the perimeter of the house. None of the articles I read said why they didn’t approach the door or attempt to contact the resident in any way. From what the video shows, one of the officers was walking along the perimeter of the house and sees motion in a window. He yells out, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” then immediately shoots through the window, not giving the person time to react. According to the CNN article, the video has been heavily edited before being released.
The unidentified police officer shot Atatiana Jefferson, a 28 year old woman who worked at Xavier University in the Human Resources department while also attending the school in the pre-med field. The family’s attorney said that Atatiana was playing a video game with her 8 year old nephew. She heard a noise outside and went to the window to look out.
Police have said they found a gun in the house but they don’t say if it was near where she was or someplace else. This line is getting old. This is Texas. A lot of us have guns. If the gun wasn’t involved in the crime it shouldn’t be mentioned otherwise the fact that a gun was owned just muddies the waters and attempts to cast doubt on the victim. In this case it doesn’t matter if she did have it. She was in her home and had a child with her. She hears a noise. If she took the gun with her when she went to look out the window who could blame her?
Why didn’t the police approach the house directly and knock on the door frame? It’s not like they were approaching a dark house. The lights were on. The front door was open with just the screen door closed. Why didn’t they call out that they were the police and ask if anyone was there so that people in the house would know they were the police? How about because they had already decided it was a criminal situation. Why would they think that? Could it have anything to do with the fact that it was a black neighborhood?
The unidentified officer joined the Fort Worth Police Department in April of 2018. None of the articles say if he is a brand new police officer or if he came from another agency. What the official police statement does say is, “Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot, striking the person inside the residence.” Unfortunately I believe the threat her perceived was, there are black people around here. The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.
You can watch the WFAA video here and judge for yourself. It’s further down on the page.