It’s been just over one month since Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed in her own home by former Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean. She was only 28 years old. Now Fort Worth claims changes will be made to their police department but many are skeptical.
WFAA reports the city manager’s office will hire a “panel of national experts that is tasked with doing a full review of police department policies and practices”
However, a police monitor is supposed to be “civilian oversight of police.” That’s not what this panel will be. WFAA explained the city manager’s office will hire the monitor, which will be a city employee. In addition, the groups will be “made up of the city manager’s office, other employees including police officers, and a panel of community members.”
WFFAA reports, “Advocacy groups have questioned the inclusion of police officers in the hiring process for a position that is charged with their oversight.” Therefore, police will overseeing other police which is far from civilian oversight.
There are also concerns that city council members will “not have more influence over the people included in the interview process.”
Assistant City Manager Jay Chapa responded to the criticism with, “We’ve put together what we think is a fair process.”
This weak oversight should not be shocking considering Mayor Betsy Price blamed Jefferson’s killing on a “rookie” mistake. Dean was only on the force for 18 months. She also said there is no systemic problem or culture of racism in the majority white police department.
There have been calls for her to step down, which she responded with, “I think that everybody’s entitled to their own opinion,” Price said. See the interview below:
Since June of this year, Fort Worth police have fatally six people, four of them being Black.
On early Saturday morning, Oct. 12, an officer responded because a concerned neighbor requested a wellness check. Atatiana Jefferson died about 2:30 a.m. local time, after an officer killed her in her own home by shooting his gun through a window. Jefferson was reportedly playing video games with her nephew.
Bodycam footage showed that Jefferson was shot within four seconds of the officer arriving.
Dean was arrested and charged with murder, but not before he was allowed to resign from the police force. He was released on bond after spending fewer than four hours in jail.
Sadly, Atatiana Jefferson’s father, Marquis Jefferson, died on Nov. 9. He suffered a heart attack at only 59 years old.