Family members of Atatiana Jefferson filed a federal lawsuit in the Northern District of Texas last week, one year after Jefferson was senselessly shot by a Fort-Worth police officer through her mother’s window on October 12, 2019 while playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew, CBS DFW reports.
The suit names Atatiana Jefferson’s biological father, Jerome Eschor; her aunt, Venitta Body; and Arita Eschor as plaintiffs. Jefferson’s mother Yolanda Carr died in January just a few short months after her daughter’s death.
It names the city of Fort Worth and former officer Aaron Dean as defendants.
The suit says says Dean “intentionally and with conscious, callous, deliberate and unreasonably indifference” used excessive force and claims the city of Forth Worth “knew or should have known that Defendant Aaron Dean exhibited a pattern of escalating encounters with the public,” failing to properly train officers to interact with the public.
In a 2018 performance report obtained by the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, a former supervisor of Dean’s noted that he had a slow response to radio calls, poor communication skills and struggled to own up to his mistakes.
“By their deliberate indifference, Defendants the City of Fort Worth Police Department implemented and encouraged policies, practices, and customs with deliberate indifference to the rights of citizens,” according to the lawsuit.
Jefferson relocated back home to Texas last year to help her mother who was suffering from heart failure. On the fateful night she was shot, Atatiana was babysitting her nephew when a concerned neighbor called the non-emergency police line after noticing the front door was ajar.
Surveillance footage of the shooting shows that when Dean arrived at the scene, he fired a shot after yelling for Jefferson and her nephew to show their hands without knocking or announcing he was the police. While a gun was found in the home, authorities did note that it was not relevant to her death.
Dean quit the force, but not until he was charged with murder. Last month a judge scheduled his trial for August.