Communities around the nation are mobilizing to demand justice for Atatiana “Tay” Jefferson, the 28-year-old Texas woman murdered by Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean, inside of her home on Oct. 12, as well as the countless Black women killed by violent police officers.
As ESSENCE previously reported, Jefferson was in her home playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew before she was killed. Her neighbor James Smith, who became concerned when he noticed the lights on and the front door open, used a non-emergency police line to request that someone go check on her.
Dean lurked outside of Jefferson’s home until he spotted what he allegedly “perceived to be a threat” standing in the window. He fired, killing Jefferson in under 4 seconds.
According to Fort Worth Police Chief Ed Kraus, Dean was scheduled to be interviewed Oct. 14, but resigned before answering any questions. He was later arrested and charged with murder, and faces being charged with civil rights violations.
Jefferson’s family and their attorney, S. Lee Merritt, have called for the federal government to step in and investigate the shooting, citing the Fort Worth Police department’s several recent officer-involved shootings. According to the outlet, Fort Worth officers have killed or wounded seven people, including Jefferson, since June 1.
“Our family is mourning over the tragic and untimely murder of Atatiana by Aaron Dean former Fort Worth police officer. Although Dean, has been arrested and charged, he is back on the streets and we are uncertain justice will prevail,” said in a statement to ESSENCE. “We demand full transparency and accountability. It is our sincere hope that Atatiana’s story will not be forgotten, and our pursuit of dignity prevents the likelihood of similar events of police abuse. Please show up for the Day of Outrage wherever you are. Keep our loved one’s name alive!”
Until Freedom, an intersectional social justice organization founded by Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Mysonne Linen, and Angelo Pinto, will lead the national day of action in 15 cities, including New York, Houston, Seattle, Atlanta, Miami, and Detroit, Phoenix, Knoxville, Baltimore, Las Vegas, and Washington D.C.
The organization’s founders are leading a rally in New York City at Foley Square, in partnership with Arc of Justice, along with community activists, advocates, elected officials and faith leaders.
“It is absolutely outrageous to consider that less than one week after Officer Amber Guyger was found guilty of murdering Botham Jean in his home in Dallas, that another Texas police officer could fire with impunity into the home of another innocent Black person,” Mallory said in a statement to ESSENCE. “We demand answers, but more importantly, we demand change. We will not allow Black people to continue to be preyed upon by those committed to protecting and serving them.”
Actions will begin at 5:30 p.m. ET. Participants are asked to wear black as a show of strength and solidarity.