Opinion: We’ve had enough
An opinion piece by guest writer Kellen Chrane | Published: October 24, 2019
Aaron Dean, remember this name.
Remember the name of the policeman who shot and murdered Atatiana Jefferson inside her own home.
Remember the name of the man who waited six-tenths of a second to execute a woman for doing absolutely nothing wrong. Remember the name of the man who will be brought to justice for the cowardly and absolutely unfathomable action he took.
Here’s what we know so far:
At 2:25 a.m. on Oct. 12, Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean responded to a call that a front door was left ajar, and proceeded to inexplicably shoot and kill Atatiana Jefferson in her own home. Body camera footage shows Dean surveying the area around the house after seeing an open front door. Dean opened the backyard gate, noticed movement in the window and shouted, “Put your hands up, show me your hands!” Within a breath of this order, and I mean a breath, Dean fired a shot through the window, killing Jefferson almost instantly.
Let's take a deep breath.
First things first, how catastrophically clueless do you have to be to shoot someone from outside their home without revealing the one piece of information that might prevent this from happening? All he had to say was, “Ma'am! I am a police officer, I am not a threat!”
Jefferson was in her full right to have a gun in her hands upon hearing commotion outside her house that late at night, and if the officer had simply identified himself, then the entire situation would have passed. The Jefferson family would still have the backbone of their entire family.
Not only was there no threat, but Dean waited for the grand total of six-tenths of a second before pulling the trigger. He felt that the “threat” on his life was so great that he must shoot an unidentified woman through the window of her home in the same amount of time that it takes me to blink. This is a TRAVESTY.
How irresponsible do you have to be to shoot first and ask questions later? Not to mention the fact that he was responding to a wellness check, a supposedly non-violent checkup. He had no reason to come into this situation with his gun at all, something that several cops that I have talked to have confirmed. His actions reflect poorly on the Fort Worth Police Department, the police academy, and only worsen the tension on the already immensely strained relationship that our communities have with the police.
Atatiana Jefferson should be alive right now. An Xavier grad, she was a pre-med student, studying to become a doctor. Described as a kind, beautiful, and generous soul, she never hurt anybody, except when she killed monsters playing Halo with her nephew Zion. She was the provider and caregiver for her extended family, and thanks to the atrocious and impulsive actions of a wannabe enforcer, the Jefferson family is left picking up the pieces.
Thankfully, Dean is going to face justice. While the Fort Worth Police Department handled things poorly to say the least, he was arrested for murder this week, and rest assured that he is never going to hurt or kill someone ever again. So while Jefferson is gone, it won't be in vain. Justice will be served.
After several discussions with students around school this past week, I’ve come to the conclusion that a number of students don't think that tragedies like this are relevant to their lives because it hasn't happened in Lake Highlands. A student who wishes to remain nameless even said, “Honestly, it doesn't feel like it is a real issue, it feels like it's happening in a foreign world.” This student’s comments reflect the saddening fact that what has become a national issue does not permeate the metaphorical bubble that is Lake Highlands.
However, this isn't the case. In fact, Jefferson went to Lake Highlands High and graduated in 2010. You cannot say that this is not an issue our community needs to tackle when she walked the very same halls that we do every day. It happened to her, it could happen to anyone. It doesn't matter if it's in Lake Highlands or Fort Worth, or Ferguson, or Baltimore, or wherever you go. It doesn't matter if it is going to happen tomorrow, next week, next year, or in 10 years. This is a NATIONAL ISSUE that must be solved before we EVER begin to talk about unity in our communities.
You can’t have unity in a community when the people who are sworn to protect us are the same people that are killing us.
Police killed 1,164 people in 2018. These people came from every region, every state, and from communities just like ours. The only difference between us and them is that tragedy and violence that has wrecked communities and destroyed homes in other places hasn't struck us.
So before that happens, and I pray that it doesn't, lets continue to raise awareness to the brutality and tragedy that is happening daily. Let us continue to have conversations with our neighbors about maintaining a safe, peaceful environment. Let us continue to have dialogue between cops and citizens. Not just here, where it is peaceful, but across the nation in social hotbeds like the south. Let us continue to push the envelope, continue to push back against obvious corruption and poor training in our police departments. Let us continue to never rest until we can honestly say that we made the change necessary to fix the broken and hurting society that we call America. Let us never rest until Atatiana Jefferson has justice, and that this will happen no more.
*Picture credited to: https://wtvr.com/2019/10/14/atatiana-jefferson-obit/