US police officer in court over bedroom shooting

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Aaron Dean(left) and Atatiana Jefferson(right)

A US police officer who shot dead a black woman in her bedroom on Saturday has been held and charged with murder.

Police in Fort Worth, Texas, wrote on Twitter that Aaron Dean was being held in the Tarrant County jail. On Monday police chief Ed Kraus said Mr Dean had resigned from the force.

Atatiana Jefferson was killed after police responded to a non-emergency call from a neighbour.

Body cam footage shows the officer shooting within seconds of seeing her.

Allegations of police brutality in black communities have been a longstanding issue in the US.

In its initial statement, the Fort Worth Police Department said the officer had “perceived a threat” when he drew his weapon.

Had Mr Dean not resigned, Police Chief Kraus said: “I would have fired him for violations of several policies including our use of force policy, our de-escalation policy and unprofessional conduct.”

Earlier, Ms Jefferson’s sister, Ashley Carr, said she had been “killed by a reckless act” and called for a federal investigation.

 A civil rights lawyer, Lee Merritt, who is representing the family, said “The investigation should be handled by someone other than the Fort Worth Police Department.”

He added that the department “is on track to be one of the deadliest police departments in the United States”.

Police shootings
Accurate data on police shootings is difficult to obtain since local police forces are not obliged to provide figures.

According to a database compiled by the Washington Post, 709 people have been killed by law enforcement officials so far this year and about 20% of victims were black. Texas had the second-highest number of total deaths.

Ms Jefferson’s killing comes two weeks after Dallas police officer Amber Guyger, 31, was found guilty of murdering 26-year-old Botham Jean.

Last year Guyger shot and killed Jean as he sat eating ice cream on his apartment sofa, less than 35 miles (55km) from Saturday’s incident.

Guyger testified she mistakenly thought she was in her own flat and believed Jean to be an intruder.

At trial, Guyger admitted to shooting “an innocent man”.

 

Nneka Ukachukwu