Police

Fort Worth Police Chief Explains Why Atatiana Jefferson's Welfare Check Turned Deadly

"There is absolutely no excuse for this incident," said Police Chief Edwin Kraus.

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Fort Worth Police Chief Edwin Kraus provided more details on Tuesday following the officer-involved shooting of Atatiana Jefferson, who was killed in her own home.

Over the weekend, a concerned neighbor called a non-emergency line out of concern for Jefferson's house doors being open and lights turned on. Aaron Dean was one of the responding officers who conducted a welfare check at the home. Body camera footage shows the officers quietly circling the home before approaching a window. Upon seeing Jefferson inside, Dean shouts, "Put your hands up! Show me your hands!" He then shoots inside the window. At no point did Dean introduce himself as law enforcement.

Jefferson later died from her injuries. Dean resigned before he could be fired from the department.

During a Tuesday press conference, Kraus stated, "There is absolutely no excuse for this incident."

Kraus was asked to explain how a simple welfare check turned into a deadly incident. Between the time of the neighbor's concerned call and the time officers arrived at the house, dispatch apparently relayed to officers that they would be responding to an "open structure call," which Kraus explained means officers had more discretion to respond as they see fit, instead of the more constrained welfare check.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram gives more context: Though the department continues to note that officers thought they were responding to an "open structure call," a police call sheet reportedly showed that the call was labeled a burglary. Mike Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, observed to the Star-Telegram that officers typically respond quite differently to a burglary than to a welfare check.

This could explain why neither officer was seen trying the door, as well as why they didn't identify themselves as law enforcement.

When asked to explain the exact reason for the change in communication, however, Kraus was unable to provide specifics as the department was still investigating the incident.

In Tuesday's conference, Kraus addressed the blurry still of a gun seen in the body camera footage. Kraus conceded that it "makes sense that [Jefferson] would have a gun" if she thought that a stranger was standing in her yard. When asked if Dean felt threatened by a gun, Kraus answered, "I cannot tell you what he felt. He did not give a statement."

Kraus reiterated an announcement made on Monday that a team of national experts would be reviewing the police department's policies and training practices.

The full press conference is available here.

Kraus also confirmed that Dean was arrested on Monday evening on murder charges and booked into the Tarrant County Jail. He is currently out on a $200,000 bond.

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60 responses to “Fort Worth Police Chief Explains Why Atatiana Jefferson's Welfare Check Turned Deadly

  1. THE PLOT THICKENS. still shooting first and asking questions of dead bodies, burglar or not. Even criminals have rights

    1. ^^ This.

      Just because there is a suspected burglary, you cannot just shoot. Ring the fucking doorbell.

      1. Jesus Christ. Station a couple guys at the back and have a third ring the bell. If people run out the back – its a burglary. If someone comes to the front door – they live there.

      2. Less than 2 seconds transpired from the first “Show me your hands” to the officer opening fire.
        That’s almost (but not quite), “Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! – Police officer! Show me your hands!”
        This cop should see a minimum of 12 years prison time.
        The 911 dispatcher should also do some jail time.

    2. More money needed for training.

      1. Training? You can’t fix stupid.

    3. Yeh, when I read about this the other day, I had a feeling that there was some issue with the way the call went out over the radio (doesn’t condone the behavior). I just can’t imagine someone would respond this way if it was characterized as a welfare check.

      1. I can’t imagine someone would react this way period.

        To start with, as a cop, he should know that calls get garbles and even if called out to a burglary in progress should, on arriving at the scene, take stock of the situation and deal with it as it actually is.

      2. More people than just the officer bear responsibility for this tragedy. The entire chain of communication failed, and the people responsible for it should be terminated.

  2. During a Tuesday press conference, Kraus stated, “There is absolutely no excuse for this incident.”

    Kraus reiterated an announcement made on Monday that a team of national experts would be reviewing the police department’s policies and training practices.

    Was there a follow-up question as to why Kraus doesn’t think those two statements don’t directly contradict each other? Maybe something to do with where this officer might have gotten the bizarre idea that “shoot first and ask questions later” might be proper procedure rather than directly the opposite of proper procedure?

    1. Given this ridiculous “reason”, had it in fact been a burglary, and not a welfare check, he’s suggesting it would have been fully justified to fire through windows and into the private home at all silhouettes presenting themselves at windows at 2am.

      And the chief is 100% wrong on it.

      1. The lights were on.

      2. Hey, I’ll just be happy if they just identify and address even some the apparent systemic problems at the department.

        1. I’m sure all over who doesn’t make new coffee when someone uses the last cup.

      3. Dean has been arrested and charged with murder presumably by FWPD. Doesn’t look to me like the chief is trying to cover for this guy.

  3. If his “explanation” doesn’t refer directly to overly aggressive training techniques and erasure of accountability via public sector union shenanigans, he’s wrong. Now I’ll read the article.

    1. “open structure call,” which Kraus explained means officers had more discretion to respond as they see fit, instead of the more constrained welfare check.

      Doesn’t change anything about the officer’s actions.

      next.

      a police call sheet reportedly showed that the call was labeled a burglary. Mike Benza, a law professor at Case Western Reserve University, observed to the Star-Telegram that officers typically respond quite differently to a burglary than to a welfare check.

      Doesn’t change anything about the officer’s actions.

      Next.

      When asked if Dean felt threatened by a gun, Kraus answered, “I cannot tell you what he felt. He did not give a statement.”

      Do I have to give a statement if I kill someone?

      So yeah, he failed utterly to give a “reason” for the shooting.

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  5. He did not give a statement.

    Police know not to trust police.

    1. I saw a different police shooting, seemed legit where a guy pointed a pistol at the cop, but once more cops arrived a nice female officer escorted the officer that fired the shot from the scene. As he was being escorted he was reasonably upset and started stating things to her like, “I can’t believe he did that…” and “there was a gun…” and the nice female officer chided him with three little words, “NOT A WORD!”

      So yeah, the police know not to talk to the police.

  6. Another CF from our highly trained, professional police.

    Can’t even carry out a simple welfare check without screwing it up. And an innocent young woman paid with her life for their malfeasance.

    And as others have pointed out in comments here and elsewhere, the LEO barks orders and before the person they’re shouting at can respond, the lead is already flying. But it shouldn’t be surprising to any of us because for LEO’s, getting home after a shift is job one, nothing else matters to them it seems.

    1. Yeah, be cause most people aren’t altruistic such as yourself.

  7. He then shoots inside the window.

    Creating jobs for lawyers, investigators, reporters, and glaziers. Once again confirming the broken windows theory.

    1. Both broken windows theories?

  8. dispatch apparently relayed to officers that they would be responding to an “open structure call,” … [but] a police call sheet reportedly showed that the call was labeled a burglary. … When asked to explain the exact reason for the change in communication, however, Kraus was unable to provide specifics as the department was still investigating the incident.

    Oh, FFS! Then “the department” should resign or be fired!

  9. Reason number 552,256 why if you are REALLY concerned about your neighbor, you don’t call the fucking cops. Go over and visit, first.

    I mean, yeah, it is risky for you to check in on a friend or neighbor. But the chances that they are in an imminent danger that is also a danger to you are miniscule, while the chances that they will be shot by a cop higher (if still small, overall).

    1. Seriously. The worst thing about big government is how it has allowed people in this country to abrogate their responsibilities as Members of Society to a bunch of people with a monopoly on force.

      I run camp outs for my local cub scout pack. It is fun to have 100 screaming kids in a camp ground, but the real problem is often the parents. They will see kids running off into the woods alone, watch them running near a fire, and playing tag in the branches of a tree. And then they will come to one of the pack leaders and say something like, “I cannot believe you are allowing this to happen!”

      No, silly parent. You are letting it happen. You are a fucking parent. Take responsibility. Christ!

      1. All that stuff is kind of the point of scouting.

    2. In any town going over to another house at 2am is not smart. meet your neighbors and their phone number and call them. If they don’t answer then you call the cops.

      1. The call into dispatch was made well before midnight. Also, walking up to a door and saying, “Hello! Just checking to make sure everything is okay” is usually seen as a kind gesture.

        1. So, I’m sure that I heard the police chief say in one of the first news conferences (the second one, I think) that the call was made several hours before the visit. The timeline that now keeps getting published shows just minutes between the call and the police arriving. I can’t find that video of the news conference now- they all just show clips now as the stories have been refined. Does anyone have a link to the complete early news conferences?

  10. Welfare: the state of doing well especially in respect to good fortune, happiness, well-being, or prosperity.

    Cop did a welfare check and determined she had too much welfare and confiscated it. Kinda like road side civil asset forfeiture. Cops determine you have too much assets and takes it.

    It all came down to an appearance of resistance. Comply or die.

    A deputy was cleared in August for shooting someone through the door when responding to an unintentional medical emergency call. Law enforcement sent the message that there is a war on self-defending homeowners and Dean heard the message loud and clear.
    https://thefreethoughtproject.com/shoot-man-sc-cop-lie-body-cam/

  11. I personally lean towards the police being ran at the state level and not by a local municipality. Of course, some of you ancaps won’t even like that because you want a Mad Max society, which I don’t want to live in. Most states have the resources and expertise to better run a police force. They have access to ARNG personnel that can spend time training state police (no longer local police departments) on different situations. Plus, most police departments are neutered to actually perform their jobs by leftist busy-bodies (see San Francisco, Seattle, Baltimore, etc. ).

    1. No one cares what Canadians think.

    2. Keep them local, but makes cops and departments liable and accountable for their actions.

      Also, no need to go tot he state level when we already have a working county level law enforcement in place. A town PD gets out of line just dissolve it and let the sheriff step in.

      1. All cops should be required to maintain personal liability insurance. Once they can’t get insured they’re out of policing.

        1. Yeah, because having insurance doesn’t create a moral hazard.

        2. Yeah, malpractice insurance works well for the medical field, seems like a reasonable model for law enforcement. Admittedly, they’d probably have to pay cops a lot more if they expect them to afford those premiums, though.

    3. I personally lean towards the militia. Protect yourself and your community. Everyone should know their neighbors and have neighborhood meetings where they can meet each other. If someone in the neighborhood is facing home intruders, they can call their armed neighbors for help.

      Highly trained professional police don’t seem to be working out so well, but if you live in a blue area where everyone hates guns, you can still try your luck with armed strangers protecting you from other armed strangers.

      1. Everyone should know their neighbors and have neighborhood meetings where they can meet each other.

        *starts losing interest*

        1. “Socialism will never succeed: it takes up too many evenings.” —Oscar Wilde

        2. Yeah, the militia guys have never had much hold on me for those reasons and others. I don’t mind professional police when they’re, y’know, actually professional, rather than power tripping drug warriors.

      2. The thing is that most police departments don’t actually provide training for real world events. They don’t have the funding, the expertise or the manpower to co-ordinate all of this. Yet so many of you scratch your heads why things like this happen and then also argue that policing needs to be kept local. You can’t have both.

        Many of you think that the applicants are chosen from the cream of the crop from a community, but in reality are applicants chosen from the bottom of the barrel. Police departments have a very difficult time recruiting quality candidates. Therefore, they have to get rid of test, reduce the time a police academy is, water down a PT test, have moral waivers for certain convictions or misdemeanors or include other perks.

        1. No one is scratching their head over this. A psychopath was put under color of law and acted like a psychopath. More training, for real-world events or otherwise, doesn’t help.

        2. Yet they seem to have lots of money for training to bring in psychopaths that tell the cops to shoot first, deal with things later and he’ll lie on the stand for you.

    4. I don’t need the morons at the state capital telling my little town in Northern California how to act or who gets a CCW license. If Sacramento was in charge no one would get a license. keep police local

      1. News flash, Terminator. Your laws are made at the state house.

    5. In Libertopia where only initiating force is illegal there would be so little crime that a couple of volunteer county cops could do the job.

  12. Boy, cops are quick to throw each other under the bus, aren’t they?

    1. In certain situations, the ole blue line becomes incredibly thin.

  13. “did not give a statement”

    All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others, especially the pigs apparently.

  14. I was surprised when Amber Guyger was charged with murder, and she wasn’t even on the job; I’m more surprised now.

  15. Perhaps it’s time to disarm the police.

  16. I don’t think he meant to kill her as in he showed up with the intent to kill her. I think he got freaked out and reflexes took over. Not excusable, but I don’t think he had a motive. I think he did this by accident.
    That makes me question the “murder” charge.
    I noticed in cases like these the department/city/whoever states that this is unacceptable, they throw down heavy charges, people are satisfied, a year or more later when it goes to court he’s not found guilty of the over-charged crime and he walks. Then people protest for 3-4 days.
    Then it’s forgotten.

    1. Proliferating new laws is generally a bad thing, but I starting to think we need a new one for cases like this.

      Call it something like “Cowardice Manslaughter” or “Cowardice Homicide” to go along with intoxication manslaughter and negligent homicide.

      It would apply to cases where someone overreacts in a lethal way to a situation that a person of ordinary bravery and prudence would consider an acceptable level of risk not calling for the use of deadly force.

      Suggested penalty range 5 to 10 plus loss of RKBA and a ban on working in occupations involving personal risk.

    2. In Texas, pointing and firing a gun at someone that leads to their death is murder. If he showed up with the intent to kill her, it would be capital murder.

  17. Another example of overarmed, steroidal, dim-witted cops spraying and praying their ammunition in panic. If this idiot had a revolver, he’d be more judicious about his supply of ammo. Shots outbound per round were 3/4 more accurate in gunfights with revolvers (in 1965, NYC stats, Guns and Ammo) than semi-automatics today. No cop needs three magazines, 15 rounds each. It makes them careless, it only covers their lousy skills. We’ve seen over and over three cops empty 45 rounds in a few seconds to kill one suspect. When they investigate, it’s 45 rounds out between three cops, fewer than 10% hits on the target. They rest go off (thankfully, mostly) to peripheral property damage, broken windows, rounds zinging around the neighborhood looking for a landing spot. It’s unbelievable to em that we haven’t stepped the cops on the street back to revolvers. Street cops don’t need 16-shot .40S&W, the damned thing is too powerful, too many for the new street cop to handle. Detectives? Ok. NYC beat cops? Fine. But this shit here? No. Time to dial back the killing machine. Sorry, coppers.

  18. Currently 51 comments on the board and all so quick to judge from their couch.

    I would like to see 51 people call in a burglary (officers were responding to a burglary and not a health and welfare check) and sit in their dark house at 2:30AM. When cops show and shine a light in window, point a gun at them. Again, not a health a welfare check and protocol is slightly different depending on jurisdiction responding – these officers were trained to park down the street and sweep the area of residence in question. They were not to announce their presence and do a mariachi dance.

    Are you comfortable doing that. I definitely am not. Certainly a good way to get yourself killed.

  19. It is called CYA (cover your ass) in case something goes wrong, as it did. Escalate everything immediately, then you have your excuse.

Comments are closed.