Another Day, Another Black Life Gone

For hundreds of years in this country, black people have been enslaved, wrongfully accused, incarcerated, raped, hung, shot and killed for being black. 

Whenever I see the latest story on a black person bullied, abused or killed, whenever I learn the name of the latest victim and the details of their attack, I shut down mentally and emotionally. I want to cry right now as I type this because on my heart is the story of Atatiana Jefferson's recent murder. I don’t know her, but I’m devastated over what this 28-year-old African-American pre-med graduate experienced.

In the early morning hours of Saturday, October 12th, Jefferson was in her home in Fort Worth, Texas when she was shot and killed by police officer Aaron Dean, who has since been arrested and charged with her murder.

Shortly before her murder, Atatiana’s neighbor called a non-emergency hotline, concerned for her after seeing an open door at her home. Multiple officers responded to call and walked around her residence. Police say they “perceived a threat” which led to Officer Dean firing one shot through Atatiana’s window, striking and killing her.

The bodycam footage revealed the officers failed to identify themselves before Officer Dean flashed a light through Atatiana’s bedroom window and yelled for her to put her hands up, only to shoot her half a second later. She was pronounced dead at the scene. 

This is what, two weeks after the Botham Jean trial ended? Another young black person being shot in their home? These officers are reckless. There is and has been a very clear problem systematically within police departments all over this country. When will this end?

Police officers need to be held accountable for their crimes. Maybe not all, but far too many are racist and have been enabled by a system that has allowed them to get away with murder time and again. They shouldn’t be allowed to protect each other when they swore to protect and serve the communities they live and work in.

The killing of unarmed African-Americans in this country is an epidemic. Police shootings are the leading cause of death for black men. And we know they care even less about the lives of black women. While this case has so far led to Officer Dean being charged with murder, police shootings of black people, my people is a reality that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight.