$3.5M Awarded To Child Who Witnessed Fatal Shooting Of Atatiana Jefferson

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The City of Fort Worth, Texas will award $3.5 million to the nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, a 28-year-old Black woman who was fatally shot by police through a window of her home.

According to the Associated Press, the Fort Worth City Council approved a settlement for Zion Carr, who was 8 years old when he witnessed the killing of his aunt.

Jefferson's death came on the night of October 12, 2019, after a neighbor called a non-emergency police line to report that her front door was left open. Jefferson was in her home playing video games with Zion that night, and the two had left the doors open to air out smoke from hamburgers that he had burnt, the boy previously testified.

Bodycam footage shows former officer Aaron Dean and his partner Carol Darch responded to the report but didn't identify themselves as police at the home. Darch said in her testimony that the two suspected the house might have been burglarized, so they moved quietly into the backyard with their guns.

It was in the backyard where Dean fired a single shot through the window moments after ordering Jefferson, who was inside the home, to show her hands.

Dean was convicted of manslaughter in connection to Jefferson's death and sentenced to over 11 years in prison.

During trial, Dean claimed he was unable to see the race or sex of the person in the window. The ex-officer said he fired the fatal shot after seeing Jefferson holding a gun "pointed directly at me." Zion testified that his aunt took her gun out, believing there was an intruder in the backyard.

The $3.5 million settlement will go toward Zion's current needs and living expenses as well as a savings plan to pay for college tuition. Zion’s mother, Amber Carr, died in January 2023 of congestive heart failure.

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