The shooting death of Atatiana Jefferson by police in Fort Worth, Texas has sparked nationwide outrage, with many speaking out against the officer who shot through the woman’s bedroom window on Saturday after a neighbor called to check on an open door in the home.
Jefferson was killed in the early morning hours on Saturday after officers responded to a non-emergency call from a neighbor concerned that the home’s front door was open. Police body camera footage of the shooting released that day, and shared on YouTube by WFAA, showed that officers looked into the home’s front door before moving to the backyard, where they looked over the yard and home with flashlights.
When one of the officers looked into a darkened room through a back window, he saw someone standing inside.
“Put your hands up — show me your hands,” he shouted before opening fire.
The video shows there was less than a second from the start of the command until the time the officer opened fire. The video then showed still images of what was claimed to be a weapon on the floor of the room.
Though the police camera footage ends there, NBC News reported that the officers then entered the home and attempted to provide medical care to Jefferson, but she was declared dead.
Many have now spoken out against the killing of Atatiana Jefferson, including neighbor James Smith, who made the phone call to police that started the fatal chain of events.
“If you don’t feel safe with the police department, then who do you feel safe with?” he said.
Others have seen racial undertones with another controversial killing of a black person by police under questionable circumstances. Just one year ago, a black man in Dallas was shot to death by police officer Amber Guyger, who said she thought the man was in her apartment when really, she had gone to the wrong door.
Presidential candidate and former Texas Congressman Beto O’Rourke was among those speaking out, taking to Twitter to demand accountability from the police department.
“Atatiana Jefferson was killed in her own bedroom by a police officer while she was playing with her nephew,” O’Rourke wrote. “As we mourn with Atatiana’s loved ones, we must demand accountability and promise to fight until no family has to face a tragedy like this again.”
This is the window where the Fort Worth Police Officer shot & killed Atatiana Jefferson in her own home.— Shaun King (@shaunking) October 13, 2019
He shot her through her own bedroom window. She broke no laws & did nothing wrong. We are demanding justice immediately. This was illegal. It violates both the law & policy pic.twitter.com/da4pk1603j
The Fort Worth police officer involved has not been named, but the department said the officer has been placed on administrative leave while the department’s major case and internal affairs units and the Tarrant County district attorney’s law enforcement incident team investigate the shooting.