Texas cop who killed Atatiana Jefferson was probing potential burglary and not conducting a welfare check: Police

Fort Worth interim Police Chief Ed Kraus told reporters on Tuesday that Aaron Dean and his partner responded to Atatiana Jefferson's home after they received a call from a neighbor who noticed that the door of the woman's home was ajar


                            Texas cop who killed Atatiana Jefferson was probing potential burglary and not conducting a welfare check: Police
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FORT WORTH, TEXAS: White police officer Aaron Dean who fatally shot African American Texas woman Atatiana Jefferson through her window was not conducting a welfare check, as it was reported earlier.

Fort Worth interim Police Chief Ed Kraus told reporters on Tuesday that Dean and his partner responded to Jefferson's home after they received a call from a neighbor who noticed that the door of the woman's home was ajar and grew concerned. As a result, the brief to the dispatched officers was to handle the case as a potential burglary. 

“The information came from the neighbor to the call-takers and, while it was relayed to the dispatch, it was determined to be an open structure call,” Fort Worth interim Police Chief Ed Kraus told reporters on Tuesday, according to CNN

Michael “Britt” London, president of the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, told CNN that the “open structure” or “open door” nature of the call affected the way the officers responded, as they could refer to a burglary or another crime, which was quite different from welfare checks often involving medical emergencies, check-ups on the elderly or relatives people hadn't heard from a long time. 

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In the case of welfare checks, cops usually knock on the door and wait for an answer. In “open structure” cases, however, the level of suspicion and alert is much higher. 

“You are at a higher sensitivity to what is going on with that house,” London said. “You have to be ready for anything. You are taking more of your environment in consideration to be ready for a surprise if there’s one.”

But Jefferson's case remains shrouded in mystery as James Smith, 62, the neighbor who made the original call to a non-emergency police number, told Fort Worth Star-Telegram that he “never mentioned” anything about a burglary.

“All they had to do was come and make sure that they were OK,” Smith told the paper. “What they did wrong was not follow the procedure that they have in place for the type of call that I called. I didn’t see that. I didn’t get that.”

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Shortly before being fatally shot by Dean, Jefferson had been up late at night with her 8-year-old nephew playing video games. When she heard movement outside, she grabbed the gun. 

Retired Fort Worth chief of police and police consultant Jeff Halstead told CNN that there were no signs to suggests there was a crime happening inside Jefferson's house and hence there could not be an excuse for how Dean acted. 

“They were standing literally at the front door, they could see whether the door was kicked on or not,” he said. “The lights were on, there was evidence that people were living there, there were toys. Why they advanced to an extremely dark backyard area without at least ringing the doorbell or checking the entrance? That’s extremely concerning."

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