Hollywood Reacts to Police Shooting of Atatiana Jefferson: ‘We Must Stand Up’

Atatiana Jefferson (Family photo)

Hollywood stars are speaking out about the fatal police shooting of Atatiana Jefferson in her home over the weekend in Texas.

Aaron Dean — the Fort Worth police officer who killed Jefferson — resigned and is no longer on the force, Police Chief  Ed Kraus said at a news conference Monday. Dean was hired in August 2017 and became a licensed officer in 2018, Kraus said. Hours after the police chief spoke to reporters, Dean was arrested and charged with the murder.

On Saturday morning, Jefferson, 28, was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when she was killed after a neighbor called police to report the doors to her home had been left open for hours. The neighbor, James Smith, dialed a non-emergency number to ask for a welfare check.

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Jefferson’s family spoke to reporters Monday and demanded justice. Joined by attorney Lee Merritt, they called for the federal government to step in and investigate.

“We demand justice for Atatiana with an independent thorough process,” said Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s older sister, whose son was with Jefferson when she was killed.

The shooting has caused anger and frustration across the country following the death of another African American at the hands of a white police officer.

“We must stand up to these empowered fools who continue to take lives, like that of Atatiana Jefferson,” actress Jackée Harry wrote on Twitter. “We must stand up because #BlackLivesMatter.”

Writer and director Ava DuVernay tweeted: “May your ancestors embrace you and lift you up, Dear Sister. Please help guide our rage and our tears towards justice for you – and justice for all.”

“When I woke up today it saddened me knowing Atatiana’s life is gone and that this poor child’s life is forever changed by that traumatic moment his aunt’s life was stolen by Aaron Dean,” A Black Lady Sketch Show star Gabrielle Dennis tweeted Monday.

Wendell Pierce, who played a detective on The Wire, said police overreacted.

“Anticipating police overreacting, the neighbor called the NON-EMERGENCY number. Why did police have guns drawn for a non-emergency wellness check?” he tweeted.

CNN host Van Jones said the shooting makes “zero sense.”

“This is horrible. It is totally unlawful for anyone — whether police or civilian — to fire a deadly weapon under these circumstances,” he wrote on Twitter. “It makes zero sense.”

Meanwhile, Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price has apologized to the community and said the shooting was unjustified.

“On behalf of the entire city of Fort Worth, I’m sorry,” Price said in a statement. “To Atatiana’s family, it’s unacceptable. There is nothing that can justify what happened on Saturday morning. Nothing.”

 

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