‘Modern Lynching’: Attorney Blames Death of Atatiana Jefferson’s Dad on ‘Ripple Effects’ of Police Brutality

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The father of Atatiana Jefferson died after having a heart attack Saturday, less than one month after his daughter was shot and killed by a Fort Worth Police officer in her own home.

Marquis Jefferson, 58, was not ill in the moments leading up to his death, the man’s spokesman Bruce Carter told NBC 5.

He reasoned that the father died “because of grief” he was experiencing after losing his daughter.

Marquis and Atatiana Jefferson
Less than a month before his sudden death at 58, Marquis Jefferson (left) filed for a restraining order after he says he was deliberately left out of funeral planning for his daughter Atatiana Jefferson (right). (Photos: WFAA Screenshot, Jefferson family photo)

“I don’t know what else to say,” Carter told NBC. “Less than a month ago, he was working at El Centro, mentoring kids twice a week. He just couldn’t get back from what happened with his daughter.”

Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean killed Atatiana Oct. 12 at her mother’s home, which the 29-year-old woman was staying at temporarily.

She had been playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew at bout 2:30 a.m. when officers called to the home to check on a door left open, according to an arrest affidavit Fort Worth police emailed Atlanta Black Star.

“Officer Dean then shined his light into a back window of a dark room and observed someone inside,” authorities said in the affidavit. “Officer Dean gave order to ‘Put your hands up, show me your hands’ without identifying himself as police and fired his handgun one time through the window.”

Soon after the woman’s death, Dean was taken to Tarrant County Jail and released on a $200,000 bond hours later, according to jail records.

Related: Fort Worth Cop Posts Bond Hours After Being Charged with Murder of Atatiana Jefferson, Remains Uncooperative: ‘He Resigned Before His Opportunity to be Cooperative’

Marquis Jefferson said last month in a temporary restraining order that he would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the court did not delay Atatiana’s wake, funeral and burial.

After seven hours of negotiations, Marquis Jefferson came to a mutual agreement with other relatives of Atatiana to push back the service originally scheduled for Oct. 19 to Oct. 24.

Related: ‘The Father Had Every Right’: Atatiana Jefferson’s Family Reach Agreement on Funeral Arrangements After Seven Hours of Negotiations

The woman’s funeral was held at Concord Church in Dallas.

Her father’s death triggered an outpouring of support for the family on social media.

The family’s attorney Lee Merritt said on Twitter Sunday “of course Atatiana’s death was a factor in his passing.”

“Police brutality impacts victims, families & entire communities alike,” Merritt said. “The anger & heartbreak felt around the country since the murder of Atatiana is still palatable.”

Merritt also posted a photo of a longer statement with his tweet Saturday calling Atatiana’s death “a form of terrorism” and “a modern lynching.”

“It sends the message that none of us are safe and it has ripple effects, not only on the victim’s immediate family, but on the collective psyche of a people.”

He went on to say that in the aftermath of her death, her family has to deal with the public attention the case attracted as well as a “very draining fight for justice.”

“Her death rocked the nation but no one felt it more than the people that were directly tied to her in life,” Merritt said. “Those people haven’t had a chance to grieve like normal families.”

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