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Family of Atatiana Jefferson Sues for Emotional Distress After 8-Year-Old Was ‘Forced to Watch the Murder of His Aunt’ at the Hands of Fort Worth Police

Amber Carr, the sister of Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot and killed in her mother’s home by a Fort Worth police officer in 2019, has filed a lawsuit claiming her 8-year-old son, who, witnessed his aunt’s murder, was traumatized by the incident.

“At the age of 8, Zion Carr was forced to watch the murder of his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, at the hands of Fort Worth Police,” says the lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas — Fort Worth division on Wednesday, Sept. 15, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported.

Aaron Dean, Atatiana Jefferson Photo: Fort Worth PD

Carr’s son “suffered extreme and severe mental and emotional distress, anxiety, terror and agony,” the suit says. The suit also says that after the shooting, officers questioned the child without parental consent. It lists former officer Aaron Dean, former police chief Ed Kraus and former mayor Betsy Price as defendants and does not specify the damages sought.

On Oct. 12, 2019, a neighbor called the police non-emergency number because the front door to Jefferson’s mother’s home was open at about 2:23 a.m. Jefferson was inside with her nephew playing video games at the time.

Officer Aaron Dean arrived at 2:28 a.m. and by 2:30 a.m. Jefferson was dead. Police parked near, but not in front of the home, and officers did not identify themselves as police as they approached the residence. Dean approached a window and said, “Put your hands up! Show me your hands!” before firing through the window.

Zion watched as officers entered to perform CPR and as Jefferson “bled on the floor of her own home,” the lawsuit says.

Jefferson was pronounced dead at the scene. Her nephew later told police that she took a handgun out of her purse and aimed it at the window upon hearing noises, police said. Dean has been indicted on a murder charge in Jefferson’s death, but COVID-19 has delayed legal proceedings and no trial date has been set.

Jefferson’s siblings also filed a wrongful death suit against Dean and the city earlier this year, but it has been put on hold pending a dispute between family members about who is in charge of Jefferson’s estate.

The city is responsible for Zion’s trauma, the suit says, because the police department “has displayed a consistent and systematic failure to properly train and supervise its officers on the proper use of force.”

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