Crime

‘We can’t tolerate it’: Fort Worth officer writes emotional post about unjust killing

A Fort Worth police officer who was instrumental in spreading information on Facebook about a kidnapping in May has taken to social media again to talk about a recent shooting that has thrust Fort Worth into national news.

JC Williams said he wanted people to read a few things from a cop’s perspective about the shooting of Atatiana Jefferson on Saturday in hopes of bringing about unity.

Former officer Aaron Dean was charged with murder in the 28-year-old woman’s death. He was on duty as a Fort Worth police officer when he was sent to Jefferson’s home regarding two doors being open for hours. Dean and another responding officer didn’t announce themselves as police and, when in the backyard, Dean fired a single shot through a bedroom window where Jefferson stood near her 8-year-old nephew.

“There are a few things from a cop’s perspective that I wanted to post in hopes that people on both ‘sides’ will hopefully benefit from and/or be encouraged by,” Williams wrote. “1. There are NOT two sides to this story and this is not an ‘us vs. them’ situation. Atatiana was unjustly killed and is a victim. She, her nephew, the neighbor. These are the ones that any true cop feels for and wants to protect.”

Williams said he and his colleagues within the department need to say “we’re sorry.”

“I did not fire the shot, but a guy on ‘my team’ did,” he wrote. “And I have to own that. It’s horrible. I hate it. But I have to own it. We have to own it. So, If people hate or are mad at cops right now. That’s fine. If people are scared and frustrated. Good. They should be. Our team screwed up. Saying things like ‘There’s always one bad apple’ doesn’t help right now. Say ‘I’m sorry’ and because of this I will be better and take responsibility to make others better.”

Speaking specifically to fellow officers, Williams wrote that no one is going to understand their job, but despite how hard the job is, Dean “got it wrong.”

“This is a perfect time and example of why we have to call out the ones that should never be cops and get them off the team,” he wrote. “People don’t trust cops that can’t be objective and just and be consistent with right and wrong. This is our chance to say something is wrong and then continue to do what is right.”

Williams’ comments mirror those made by Interim Police Chief Ed Kraus, who became emotional while making a statement during a Tuesday morning press conference.

“I realize that no action we take can replace the loss suffered here,” he said. “I’m deeply sorry for what occurred. I’ve received so many contacts from our officers who want to express how sorry they are as well and how this is not indicative of the work they do every day.”

Kraus asked the public to not let the actions of one officer reflect on the other 1,700.

“There’s absolutely no excuse for this incident and the person responsible will be held accountable,” he said. “Ms. Jefferson’s family and our community will have the last word — the courts will speak on her behalf. Each and every one of you have our support and our commitment to serve you better.”

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Nichole Manna is an investigative reporter for the Star-Telegram. Before moving to Fort Worth in July 2018, she covered crime and breaking news in Tennessee, North Carolina, Nebraska and Kansas. She is a 2012 graduate of Middle Tennessee State University and grew up in Florida.
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