Officer Who Shot Atatiana Jefferson Wasn't Told It Was A Welfare Check

Fort Worth police were dispatched to an "open structure" call, not a welfare check, according to Chief Ed Kraus.

Fort Worth, TX – The call that Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean responded to the night he fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson was dispatched as a potential burglary report – not as a welfare check like her neighbor intended.

"The information came from the neighbor to the call-takers and while it was relayed to the dispatch, it was determined to be an open structure call," Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus explained during a press conference on Tuesday, according to CNN.

As a result, the officers responded to the call differently than they would have if the call would have been dispatched as a welfare check.

Phoenix Law Enforcement Association President Michael “Britt” London said that officers approach “open structure” calls more cautiously due to the wide array of scenarios that could lead to such a call being made, CNN reported.

"You are at a higher sensitivity to what is going on with that house," London told the news outlet. "You have to be ready for anything. You are taking more of your environment in consideration to be ready for a surprise if there's one."

Officers generally consider the possibility of burglary when handling such calls, CNN reported.

But retired Fort Worth Police chief Jeff Halstead argued that there was no evidence that anyone had forced entry into Jefferson’s home.

"They were standing literally at the front door, they could see whether the door was kicked on or not,” Halstead told CNN. "Why they advanced to an extremely dark backyard area without at least ringing the doorbell or checking the entrance? That's extremely concerning."

The former police chief said that the now-former officer’s lack of experience could have negatively affected his response.

"Some officers, younger officers, think every call is an extreme risk or high-profile call," Halstead told CNN. "With seniority, maturity, experience, you can customize your mindset in approaching a lot of different calls."

According to court documents released on Tuesday, Jefferson’s eight-year-old nephew told investigators about what he witnessed the night she was killed, KXAS reported.

The boy and his aunt were playing video games inside their home when they suddenly “heard noises coming from outside,” he told police, according to an arrest warrant.

Jefferson then retrieved a handgun from her purse and “pointed it toward the window,” at which point she “was shot and fell to the ground,” KXAS reported.

The incident began at approximately 2:25 a.m. on Saturday, when Fort Worth police received a call from Jefferson’s neighbor, James Smith, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Smith told the non-emergency dispatcher that he noticed that his neighbor’s doors were open and their lights were still on, which was unusual for that time of night.

He said that Jefferson lived at the East Allen Avenue home with her eight-year-old nephew.

Bodycam footage showed the officers as they checked on two open doors. They then made their way down a driveway to the back portion of the residence.

Dean opened a gate and came upon a darkened window to his right, the video showed.

“Put your hands up!” he suddenly ordered, with his duty weapon and flashlight pointed at the window. “Show me your hands!”

He then fired a single round, fatally wounding Jefferson, who died at the scene, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

“Perceiving a threat, the officer drew his duty weapon and fired one shot striking the person inside the residence,” the FWPD in a news release. “Officers entered the residence locating the individual and a firearm and began providing emergency medical care.”

Jefferson’s family said that she was inside playing video games with her nephew when they heard someone outside, according to their attorney, Lee Merritt.

The officer did not announce himself as law enforcement, bodycam footage showed.

When Jefferson peeked out the window to see who might be out there, she was shot, Merritt said, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

It's also unclear if she would have had any way to know that it was a police officer who was confronting her.

During a press conference on Monday afternoon, Price blasted the FWPD for releasing images of the gun located in Jefferson’s home.

“The gun is irrelevant,” Price said. “She was in her own home… Atatiana was a victim.”

Chief Kraus said he hasn’t been able to “make sense” of the officer’s decision to discharge his duty weapon.

“Nobody looked at that video and said that there’s any doubt that this officer acted inappropriately,” the chief told reporters. “I get it. We’re trying to train our officers better. We’re trying to shore up our policies, and we’re trying to ensure that they act and react the way that the citizens intend them to… with a servant’s heart instead of a warrior’s heart.”

Chief Kraus said that, “in hindsight,” releasing photographs of the firearm in Jefferson’s home “was a bad thing to do,” and that such images are generally released in order to show any “perceived threat” officers encountered.

“I think it was to show that there was a weapon involved, however, we’re homeowners in the State of Texas,” he added. “I can’t imagine most of us – if we thought we had somebody outside our house that shouldn’t be [and] we had access to that firearm – that we wouldn’t act very similarly to how she acted.”

Dean, who was hired by the FWPD in August of 2017, was placed on administrative leave on Sunday.

The 34-year-old officer resigned from the force on Monday.

“My intent was to meet with him today to terminate his employment with the Fort Worth Police Department, however, the officer tendered his resignation this morning before we met,” Chief Kraus said. “Even though he no longer works for the city, we continue the administrative investigation as if he did.”

Had he not resigned, Chief Kraus said he would have fired the officer “for violations of several policies,” to include the FWPD’s use-of-force, de-escalation, and unprofessional conduct policies.

Dean was arrested for murder at approximately 6 p.m. on the day he resigned, The Dallas Morning News reported.

He was taken to the Tarrant County Jail on $200,000 bond and was released after posting bail approximately three hours later, according to CNN.

Dean’s attorney, Jim Lane, called the officer-involved shooting a “tragedy,” KXAS reported.

Lane said that Dean has expressed remorse for what happened, and that his family “is in shock,” according to the news outlet.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is also reviewing the case for potential civil rights violations.

Comments (137)
No. 1-25
Ofcr.Tammy
Ofcr.Tammy

Again, nothing new, just another recycled attempt to generate outrage in the wrong direction.

Why not mention the age of the neighbor who made the call? 62

Why not mention both screen doors were CLOSED?

Ofcr.Tammy
Ofcr.Tammy

I would not be shocked to learn that after shooting Atatiana K Jefferson,

They also handcuffed the 8 yr old child who just witnessed his aunt gunned down.

The exact same was done when they executed Jordan Edwards, they handcuffed the witnesses.

Littlekittykat
Littlekittykat

I posted on this earlier. While it may not excuse the officer's actions, it makes the approach to the building make more sense. If the officer's are there with an assumption that it's an open door/possible burglary check they will not knock and announce themselves. This breakdown in communications are common when, in a large department, one person takes the call and refers it to another for dispatch. It can, unfortunately be like a game of telephone. But of course the mobs won't be happy until Officer Dean is lynched without a trial.

robocop95
robocop95

Hey Mr. retired chief. In your long career before becoming Chief I’m sure you know that not every burglary entails forced entry. Easily half of the burglary calls I’ve been on were through unlocked doors and unlocked windows.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

Is HCD going through a gender transition?

11 Replies

flybynight
flybynight

I think "it" already has.

Jim H. - Virginia US
Jim H. - Virginia US

I think he or she is in the process, as both are posting. He was an Officer in the Navy, supposedly. Not so sure about Tammy. I doubt all the awards HCD got for service have the name Tammy on them. I'm not sure how that works. I think I did hear that the military will pay for gender reassignment surgery.

Personally, I have no bias against gays or transgenders, as long as they do not harm others, as the 14th Amendment, the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and The Declaration of Independence guarantee the rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness to all legal residents.

I just don't appreciate people playing games, and I really dislike people who give the impression that they are LEOs when they are not. It's stolen valor, IMO, and it is disgraceful and illegal.

flybynight
flybynight

What proof has he offered that he served? I'm sure you know that you can say anything on here, it doesn't make it true.

Ibizian
Ibizian

What proof has he offered that he served? I'm sure you know that you can say anything on here, it doesn't make it true.

ABSOLUTELY NONE!!!

I went head to head with her, him, it on this issue a while back and offered to compare 214s with it.. Initially they had no idea what it was, then after Googling they flat out refused. Twisted things like usual but in the end, still refused to prove any so called military service..

Shim's a lying, racist cocksucker and I freely call it that everytime..

Having been both LEO and retired from the military after serving in 2 different combat eras, I can't stand stolen valor of either kind.

While I know there's no point in responding to the Soros troll, it's kinda fun!! I don't have a lawn to yell at kids about! Grin!!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

No lawn? not surprising, as I rarely see trailer parks with front lawns.

Ibizian
Ibizian

Ahhhhhh. Ha... That's Ahhhhhh so fucking funny coming from the racist LIAR living in Mommies basement...

I'll bet you your mom's a drug addict and your dad, oh that's right! You don't have one unless you call the 30 or so other hood rats that are the possible sperm donars, dad! I'll bet fathers day is awful for you. Not knowing which thug fucked your mom and left lke 98% of your tribe does..

But that's ok. You keep living off mommies hooking income and welfare!

Toodles you bastard bitch!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Sorry bro, my parents have been together almost 40 years. But since you mentioned it, if bet money you're from a broken home. And that you haven't learned how to keep a marrisge together yourself.

How close am I?

Ibizian
Ibizian

You are as far away from facts as possible. I was married over 28 years until one of your cousins murdered my wife...

Not sure what crystal ball you been sucking on but it's broken just like you!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

Cool story, but I don't believe you. And if it was true, don't bitch up next time.

Ibizian
Ibizian

I certainly don't give a fuck if you believe it or not. Your opinion doesn't matter to me one bit. You're nothing but a lying racist, bigot, why the fuck would I care what you think.. You think way too highly of yourself if you think anyone here cares about anything you have to say..

Don't believe me, I don't care because I know that everything you say is a lie and I've proven that several times already.

Zoe.S.
Zoe.S.

There had better be a lot more positive investigation before blaming the officer for shooting. Heard that the front door was open at that late hour, responding officer know that most burglars will try to exit out the back door/window, some press claim she pointed a gun out the window toward the officer, etc. The media has played this up for 3 days so far, condemning police thanks to Obama. Meanwhile officers are being ambushed and murdered every day without anything mentioned in the press or news

50wt
50wt

It is interesting that on one mentions how/why the Officers were not given the correct information. Most Dispatch Centers are understaffed, many hours of unwanted overtime, and limited training. What happened to the dispatcher that broadcast this info. Not down on Dispatchers, but it hurts more for them to be totally ignored .

DocRyder
DocRyder

Disappointing the number of people so eager to hang this young cop.

Gapeach73
Gapeach73

It never fails that someone always seems to bring race into everything possible. A human is a human and the world will never get better until this great divide started in the Obama presidency is stopped. How about talking about some one’s worth and character rather than blame everything on race? Right is right and wrong is wrong. I sincerely hope this officer receives a fair investigation. I am so sorry for the loss of this young lady’s life. To keep her death from being in vain, we need to learn from this and grow closer as a community.

Trueferblue
Trueferblue

So....are we to stay in our homes all locked in now? And announce to any 'noises' "I have a gun" because cops don't want to scare away a potential burglar by hollering "Police Department! Anyone home?!" and let the cards fall where they may?!!

RPG156
RPG156

When was the last time Halstead searched a property in the middle of the night? He truly is spinning this with the clarity of hindsight.

NomonK
NomonK

It is so obvious who the PLAYERS OF RACE CARD ARE as well as the GENERAL COP HATERS. You are so eager to show a racial disparity in the Police Dept vs the general population. Could the reason be the Job Application has high standards that would have to be lowered for those your crying over.
As to you Cop Haters, the reason you are a Hater is because so many of your family and friends are Scumbag Law Breakers and are locked up in some cases.

LEO0301
LEO0301

This is what I said from the very beginning. The officers certainly didn't approach this call like a welfare check.

IseeWhereThisIsGoing
IseeWhereThisIsGoing

Exactly what I said at the beginning.... 1) it was a burglary in progress until proven otherwise, and treated appropriately as such, 2) this type of information is why many were saying let the investigation complete before we allow the SJW to hang the officer based on incorrect or incomplete facts 3) It doesn't excuse the officer shooting Ms. Jefferson, however it does add more context to what was going on, compared to what was originally reported.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

An open door is not probable cause of a burglary. An open door is not reasonable suspicion of a burglary. This distinction between an open door call and a welfare check is a "distinction without a difference."

When they did have probable cause was immediately after the po-po killed the woman in the window.

5150
5150

Wait for all of the facts. That is something the left just can not do. It still seems like the cop was at fault here, but not near as cut and dry ans the media would have us all think.

Snodog
Snodog

However, a released illegal going on to kill or rape someone is no fault of the sanctuary cities that released them.

Ltpar
Ltpar

With the victim pointing a gun at the Officer through the window, they will have a tough time making a murder charge stick. Guess the prosecutors believe the Officer should have waited until she pulled the trigger before firing back.

GBach
GBach

I posted on the first article that it was obviously not a welfare check. Anyone whose been in law enforcement for more than 5 minutes can tell you a neighbor calling in an open door at 2 in the morning isn’t a welfare check, it’s a possible burglary in progress. I can even excuse the officer for not announcing himself as he was still walking the perimeter of the house seeing what was there, he wasn’t trying to go in yet. Whole thing could have been avoided if the lady had called 911 and said she thought she heard a burglar, dispatch would have told her an officer was on scene and the case would be closed. Instead she tried to go Rambo on the cop and rushed the window with her gun out.

RetChiefFL
RetChiefFL

Let's go further. 15 years ago I predicted that given the course of the narrative in the country, denigrating LEOs, that if it didn't change course, we as Agency administrators would have increased difficulty filling positions. We were having issues back then attracting qualified "A" string applications because of the narrative and pay. We were forced to hire "B" string applications in instances. B string meaning if we had sufficient "A" string desired applications, we would have not hired B. While B is certified on paper, they failed in certain tests and environments. Attitude, demeanor, past performance with another agency, and other issues at the time not serious but would be disqualified for an A competing for the same slot. We found more and more B applications than A over 10 years. Our discipline rates rose significantly, because incidents with B officers rose as well. Higher attrition results in less overall experience on the job. My senior officer tenures went from 15 year average and higher to just 5 years. And it's getting worse.

Because now even B applications are diminishing. I am now seeing C string applications rising and Agencies having to resort to hiring them because of no other B available. Forget A applications.

This process is being felt across the country.

Ohio is waving most requirements for hiring, in fact in August 2019 a town hired a 5 year officer as Chief of Police after the officer was terminated from another agency for numerous violations of force, crashing patrol units 8 times and was charged with Perjury.

So continue to bash law enforcement, you are cutting your own protection. At some point I predict law enforcement will be privatized. When that happens we all will truly suffer because you will deal with a major corporation. See how far that gets you.

Mark my words.

And I truly cannot blame them for not applying.

As far as this kid in this sad shooting? Probably scared to death and should not have been a police officer to begin with. And probably wouldn't have been if an A applicant was hired instead.

It's going to be a LOT WORSE.

qazwiz
qazwiz

WHY DIDN'T THE COP CALL INTO THE OPEN DOOR? instead, an open door is a invite to sneak around in bushes? I'm a Blue Line guy BUT NOT IF THEY ARE STUPID ... meanwhile i look for an 8 digit check for the kid, although losing your aunt won't make up for any money, it's all that courts allow

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

I wonder what would have happened if the policeman rang the doorbell and the aunt had answered the door with a drawn gun? Same result?

Downthemiddle
Downthemiddle

The officer was doing his job He was not acting recklessly or unreasonably It is a terrible accident but its not a murder or a manslaughter or a civil rights violation This could’ve been a K9 team tracking a murderer or rapist or robber It couldve been an officer searching for a lost child The lady was not a bad person but two things caused this Less than accurate dispatching and someone pointing a gun at a police officer The cop is caught in the middle and being turned into a sacrifice to prevent rioting Simple as that
The chief is a weakling and a coward Any police officer under his command may be the next Aaron Dean If this case is prosecuted or not, the damage is done The message is out Police officers are going to stop caring and crime is going to skyrocket just like it has in other places that betrayed the officers