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Trial begins for former Texas officer who shot Black woman through a window in her home

The deadly capturing of a Texas girl by a police officer by way of a window at her dwelling was “an unjustifiable act that by no means ought to’ve occurred,” prosecutors mentioned Monday throughout opening statements within the former officer’s homicide trial.

Aaron Dean, a white former Fort Price police officer, is on trial within the 2019 killing of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black girl who was enjoying video video games at dwelling together with her 8-year-old nephew.

“This isn’t a case a couple of drug deal gone dangerous or a theft,” Tarrant County prosecutor Ashlea Deener mentioned Monday in opening statements. “It is a case a couple of Fort Price police officer, a stranger to Atatiana, who shot by way of the again of her bed room window in the course of the evening when she was in her dwelling and will have been secure.”

Dean fatally shot Jefferson after a involved neighbor seen a door had been left ajar and referred to as a nonemergency police line. Jefferson, in keeping with court docket paperwork, was up late that evening enjoying video video games and caring for her 8-year-old nephew, Zion Carr. In response to police and physique digicam footage, Dean did not determine himself earlier than firing his weapon and placing Jefferson.

Dean pleaded not responsible Monday to the homicide cost.

Throughout opening arguments, prosecutors mentioned Dean shot Jefferson by way of the window into her chest “not a second” after shouting, “Put your fingers up! Present me your fingers!”

Dean fired his weapon so rapidly that Jefferson didn’t have time “to course of and observe the instructions,” Deener mentioned.

Zion, who’s now 11, testified Monday that the display screen doorways had been open after he and his aunt burned hamburgers they’d deliberate to eat for dinner. The 2 then continued to play video video games into the evening.

Zion mentioned his aunt pulled out her gun and stored it at her facet after listening to noises outdoors, each of them unaware police had been referred to as to the house.

The boy mentioned he didn’t see or hear something outdoors, however his aunt speculated the noises could have come from a raccoon. 

Zion mentioned he noticed his aunt fall to the bottom and start “crying and shaking.” He was afraid, he testified, and wasn’t positive whether or not he was dreaming. 

On cross-examination, Dean’s legal professionals questioned whether or not Zion had instructed a toddler case employee after the capturing that Jefferson had raised her gun towards the window.

At concern within the trial is whether or not Dean noticed Jefferson’s gun and whether or not he believed it was pointed at him. Prosecutors mentioned Monday that proof will present “he didn’t see the gun in her hand.”

“This isn’t a circumstance the place they’re staring on the barrel of a gun and he needed to defend himself in opposition to that individual, or to guard his companion,” Deener mentioned. “The proof will help he didn’t see the gun in her hand. This isn’t a justification. This isn’t a self-defense case. That is homicide.”

Dean’s legal professional, Miles Brissette, mentioned throughout opening statements that Dean noticed a gun being raised, gave the command and fired.

“In that window he sees a silhouette,” he mentioned. “He doesn’t know if it’s a male or feminine; he doesn’t know the racial make-up of the silhouette. He sees it, he sees the inexperienced laser and the gun come up on him. He takes a half-step again, provides a command and fires his weapon.”

Brissette mentioned Dean reacted the way in which he did due to the knowledge given to the officers once they responded to the decision. He mentioned Dean and one other officer had been treating the state of affairs as an “open construction,” not a wellness test, and thus didn’t announce their presence.

Jefferson’s demise echoes that of Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black girl fatally shot by police in March 2020 in her Louisville, Kentucky, residence. Each shootings led to widespread criticism and prompted requires police accountability and racial justice in regulation enforcement.

Dean, who resigned from the Fort Price Police Division previous to his arrest, was indicted by a Texas grand jury in December 2019 on a homicide cost.

Jefferson graduated from Xavier College with a level in chemistry. She returned dwelling after faculty to assist household with well being points and was planning to attend medical faculty.

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