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Ex-TX Cop Guilty Of Manslaughter For Killing Black Woman In 2019

Aaron Dean, a former Texas police officer, was convicted of manslaughter Thursday for fatally shooting Atatiana Jefferson through a rear window of her home in 2019. it was a rare conviction of an officer for killing someone who was also armed with a gun, reports the Associated Press. Jurors considered a murder charge against Dean but instead convicted him of manslaughter. The conviction comes more than three years after the white Fort Worth officer shot the 28-year-old Black woman while responding to a call about an open front door. Dean, 38, faces up to 20 years in prison, with the sentencing part of his trial to begin Friday. Dean, who had been free on bond, was booked into the Tarrant County jail following the verdict.

Jurors deliberated for more than 13 hours over two days before the manslaughter verdict. The primary dispute during the six days of testimony and arguments was whether Dean knew Jefferson was armed when he shot her. Dean testified that he saw her weapon; prosecutors said the evidence showed otherwise. A friend of the Jefferson family, Cliff Sparks, told the Dallas Morning News he thinks the verdict will give other officers the message that they “can shoot and kill somebody in his own backyard and get the lesser charge.” Dean shot Jefferson on Oct. 12, 2019, after a neighbor called a nonemergency police line to report that the front door to Jefferson’s Fort Worth home was open. She had been playing video games that night with her nephew and they left the doors open to vent smoke from hamburgers the boy burned. The case was unusual for the relative speed with which, amid public outrage, the Fort Worth Police Department released video of the shooting and arrested Dean. The case had been repeatedly postponed amid legal wrangling, the terminal illness of Dean’s lead attorney and the COVID-19 pandemic.


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