FORT WORTH - The Tarrant County District Attorney intends to seek a murder indictment from a grand jury in the case of a former Fort Worth officer who fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson, officials said on Friday.
Aaron Dean quit the police force before he could by fired for the deadly shooting, which happened last Saturday. Friday’s announcement of an indictment being sought for murder was the first time the Tarrant County DA’s office has made any public statement about the case.
“We have completed an initial review of the case, and based on the evidence we intend to ask the Grand Jury for an indictment of murder against Aaron Dean. We will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law,” DA Sharon Wilson said in a written statement.
Wilson said her office would continue to be limited in its comments about the case.
“While we value the media’s efforts to inform the public and we understand the public’s desire for information, our first commitment must be to our constitutional duty to ensure a fair trial,” Wilson said.
Jefferson was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew on Saturday when she was killed by an officer, Dean, responding to a call about an open front door. Dean did not identify himself as an officer before opening fire and there has been no evidence he knocked on the door.
Jefferson’s funeral is scheduled for Saturday.
Calls for change
The city manager, interim police chief, city attorney and others updated the status of demands from one community group, stemming from Jefferson’s shooting death.
Tarrant County Coalition for Community Oversight was among the crowds that packed this week's city council meeting. That group demanded a citizens’ review board for the police department. The city says that is already in progress based on recommendations from the city's race and culture task force.
As a result, the coalition followed up and said if the city didn't meet all of its demands by 5 p.m. Friday it no longer wants to talk and its protests will continue.
“I think it would've been a fruitful set of discussions and still can be,” said Fort Worth Assisstant City Manager Fernando Costa. “We're not closing the door to the discussion with the Coalition or any other legitimate community group interested in advancing police community relations, diversity and inclusion or any other common agenda.”
Jay Chapa, another assistant city manager, said the city is trying to take steps toward what the group is seeking.
“I want to make sure everybody understands and the public understands we are moving toward civilian oversight, independent oversight of the police department. It's the manner in which that's taking place that they do not agree with. Again they want it to be specifically done in the manner they prescribe,” Chapa said.
The group also called for the Texas Rangers to investigate Jefferson's fatal shooting. The police chief today said the request was made, the rangers declined.
Another demand is for raw video from the shooting scene. The city says under law certain images are not releasable, such as inside the home where video includes Jefferson's body.