Home U.S. Releasing Gun Photo Inappropriate, Fort Worth Chief Says
Releasing Gun Photo Inappropriate, Fort Worth Chief Says

Releasing Gun Photo Inappropriate, Fort Worth Chief Says


By Jill Bleed
The Associated Press

After a white Fort Worth police officer fatally shot a black woman inside her home, police swiftly released body camera footage that depicted the moments before the shooting, saying they were doing so in the interest of transparency.

Get started on your Homeland Security degree at American Military University.

But that footage also included blurry photos of a handgun found inside the home, leading many to question whether police were trying to demonize 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson, who was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was struck by the officer’s gunfire, family members said.

Fort Worth Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus admitted Monday that it was inappropriate to release the photos of the gun.

“That is something we’ve done in the past — to include the photograph of the firearm to show what the perceived threat may have been,” Kraus said at a Monday press conference, where he announced that Officer Aaron Dean had resigned from the force following Saturday’s shooting. “And in hindsight, it was a bad thing to do.”

Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price called the gun “irrelevant.”

“Atatiana was in her own home, caring for her 8-year-old nephew,” Price said in a statement. “She was a victim. And she was taken from her family in circumstances that are truly unthinkable.”

Kraus said he did not know whether Jefferson was holding the gun when the officers approached in the backyard but that the gun was found near the window where the fatal shot was fired.

“We’re homeowners in Texas … Most of us, if we thought we had somebody outside our house that shouldn’t be, and we had access to a firearm, we would be acting very similarly to how she was acting,” he said.

Dean was arrested Monday evening and charged with murder, according to court records.

Texas has had a “castle doctrine” law on the books since 2007 that gives people a strong legal defense to use deadly force in their homes. The law was backed at the time by the National Rifle Association and is similar to “stand your ground” measures across the U.S., stating that a person has no duty to retreat from an intruder.

Kraus said Monday there’s no indication that the officers knocked on the front door, and that Jefferson died from a gunshot fired through a window accessible from the fenced-in backyard. Based on the body camera footage, Dean did not identify himself as a police officer before firing his weapon.

Dean has not yet hired an attorney but will have one provided with financial support from the state’s largest police union, the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas, according to Charley Wilkison, the group’s executive director.


Bleed wrote from Little Rock, Arkansas. Associated Press writer Paul Weber in Austin contributed to this report.


This article was written by Jill Bleed from The Associated Press and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@newscred.com.



Online Degrees & Certificates In Cybersecurity

American Military University's online cybersecurity programs integrate multiple disciplines to ensure you gain the critical skills and management practices needed to effectively lead cybersecurity missions – from government or private industry. Learn from the leader. American Military University is part of American Public University System, which has been designated by the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education.

Request Information

Please complete this form and we’ll contact you with more information about AMU. All fields except phone are required.

Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Validation message here
Ready to apply? Start your application today.

We value your privacy.

By submitting this form, you agree to receive emails, texts, and phone calls and messages from American Public University System, Inc. which includes American Military University (AMU) and American Public University (APU), its affiliates, and representatives. I understand that this consent is not a condition of enrollment or purchase.

You may withdraw your consent at any time. Please refer to our privacy policy, terms, or contact us for more details.