Hold me, Jesus.
Although I am not religious, I retain many of the accoutrements of Black Christianity, namely my pepperings of the conversation with many “Oh, Lords!” and “Thank Gods!”
Sadly, I find them pouring out now. Atatiana Jefferson.
You may as well go ahead and remember that name now. Sear it into your brain. Because in the next five minutes you will go from not knowing who Atatiana was, to demanding justice for her death RIGHT NOW. Atatiana. Jefferson.
Atatiana was her fathers only daughter, she was a beloved stepdaughter, an aunt, a sister, a cousin, and a good friend. She wanted to be a doctor. Now her father wants some goddamn answers, he wants them now, and he does not want a fucking hug from his daughter’s killer.
Why is she dead? We don’t know.
It was late at night, and Atatiana was playing video games with her nephew when she heard something at the window. She approached the window to peer out into the night, and before she could understand what was even going on, she had been shot by a Dallas Fort Worth Police officer. She would not survive. And we don’t know why.
Jefferson was by all accounts pretty much a model citizen. Saving up for medical school and to care for her family members, she had recently moved back home where she should have been safe. But she wasn’t.
WHAT THE FUCK, TEXAS???
There seems to be a real problem in these United States where nobody who is black is allowed to feel safe at anytime. And if you do feel safe, you always have moments where you know your safety is an illusion, or better yet, a delusion. We are not ever safe. Whether on your couch eating Ice Cream, in your room playing video games, on your couch sleeping, there is always the knowledge that a cop can come in and kill you. And if you’re black, they often get away with it, or at least do far less time than the average black man would do with the same verdict. The worst part? You are expected to forgive.
Atatiana’s father is not here to give forgiveness. He doesn’t want your hug, he doesn’t want to comfort you, he want his goddamn child back. He cannot have that.
So give him Justice.
I am sick inside.
The family of Atatiana Jefferson called on Monday for the firing and prosecution of the Fort Worth police officer who shot her dead inside her bedroom after arriving to conduct a welfare check.
Her door was open because she wanted the breeze, her neighbor was worried because it was unusual. The neighbor did nothing wrong. The police officer in question did something incomprehensible; something nobody understands. Nobody. There was an 8 year old child in the house who very well could have been the one at that window… That child will be scarred for life.
The interim chief of Fort Worth police, Ed Kraus, subsequently said the officer, named as Aaron Dean, had resigned and would have been fired had he not done so. Kraus said Dean may face charges.
May. Why the hell would there be any question of him facing charges? That man did not behave as anyone would ever expect a Police Officer to behave. This tragedy contains shades of the tragedy of Tamir Rice, the quickness to shoot, before the person had the time to register that you were even there.
A life gone in a flash.
Atatiana will not become a doctor. A dream, once deferred, has now been denied by death. Moments like this are made to drain hope from you, to break pieces of your heart that have been broken so many times you feel like you can’t take one more thing. And really, it’s a miracle you have anything left to break at all. We mourn again. And wait for the next one while holding fast to our illusions of safety and our delusion that we won’t be next. It will be one of us, it always is.
It’s hard to see any good that can come out of such a senseless act. Maybe the Police Department will raise it’s standards in some way, increase diversity, more bias training and training in general. It won’t do Atatiana Jefferson any good, perhaps the only thing that would have helped, would have been for that Cop to not have been a Cop at all. And now he is not a Cop.