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Fort Worth proposes $3.5 million settlement in Atatiana Jefferson lawsuit

The 2019 killing of Jefferson by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean helped spur protests over racism and police brutality.

Atatiana Jefferson
Atatiana Jefferson, pictured in San Diego during a trip with her siblings, was killed Oct. 12, 2019 by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean. The city of Fort Worth is considering paying $3.5 million to settle one of two lawsuits filed by Jefferson’s family.(Krista Torralva)

By Sarah Bahari

The city of Fort Worth has proposed paying $3.5 million to settle one of two lawsuits filed by the family of Atatiana Jefferson, a Black woman killed by police.

Jefferson, 28, was shot and killed in October 2019 through the bedroom window of her home by Fort Worth Officer Aaron Dean, who was sentenced last year to nearly 12 years in prison for manslaughter.

Her case, along with a slew of others — most notably George Floyd who was killed in 2020 by Minneapolis police — helped spark nationwide protests over racism and police brutality.

Fort Worth city council members will vote on the settlement at a future, undisclosed meeting, the city said in a news release.


At the time of the shooting, Jefferson was playing video games with her then-8-year-old nephew, Zion Carr. A concerned neighbor had called a nonemergency police line because the home’s doors were open and lights on inside. Jefferson and her nephew left the doors open to air out smoke after they burned hamburgers.

The proposed $3.5 million settlement would give Zion a lump sum for immediate needs and living expenses while also establishing a college savings plan that would be available as an additional lump sum if he chooses not to attend college, according to the release.

Remaining funds would be placed in an annuity, with lump sum payments going to Zion until the age of 40. Attorney fees would be deducted from the settlement amount.

“I believe this settlement is the right thing to do, and I hope this can bring a degree of reconciliation and healing for Atatiana Jefferson’s loved ones,” Mayor Mattie Parker said in a statement.

A second lawsuit filed on behalf of Jefferson’s estate is pending, with litigation continuing, according to the city.


Jefferson, an aspiring doctor raised in Dallas’ Oak Cliff neighborhood, moved in to care for her ailing mother and Zion, whose mother, Amber Carr, was also in poor health. Amber Carr died earlier this year at age 33.

This story, originally published in The Dallas Morning News, is reprinted as part of a collaborative partnership between The Dallas Morning News and Texas Metro News. The partnership seeks to boost coverage of Dallas’ communities of color, particularly in southern Dallas.

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