Atatiana Jefferson is dead.
The 28-year-old was shot and killed in her Texas home by a Fort Worth police officer on October 12. According to reports, the officer was responding to a nonemergency call for a wellness, or welfare, check. Jefferson’s neighbor made the call when he saw “both her front doors opened and all the lights on in her house” at 2 a.m.
Police body cam footage of the shooting shows the officer walking around Jefferson’s house for a little over a minute before yelling, “Put your hands up. Show me your hands [unintelligible],” and immediately fires his weapon. The officer—who is not heard identifying himself as law enforcement in the footage—claims he “perceived a threat,” according to a statement issued by Fort Worth police.
Some reports have described Jefferson as an Xavier University graduate, and social media posts include this information as if it’s why we should care that her life was violently taken by a public servant whose job was to protect her. But none of that is important in this context.
Jefferson’s death has compounded the rage and trauma from police violence felt by many in Black communities across the country, and is another example of two ongoing problems about policing in Black communities: How law enforcement sees us, and why we are hesitant to call on them for help.
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