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The 2019 killing of Atatiana Jefferson by a Fort Worth, Texas, police officer—who was subsequently found guilty of manslaughter and sentenced to more than 11 years in prison—was one of the most egregious instances of cops killing Black people for no discernable reason that we’ve seen, at least in the last handful of years.

Atatiana Jefferson

Source: Facebook / facebook

To make the story even more tragic, Jefferson’s nephew, who was 8 years old at the time, witnessed the entire event. Now, the city will pay the child a $3.5 million settlement after he was caused to suffer “anxiety, terror and agony,” according to a federal lawsuit filed in 2021 by his mother, Amber Carr, who is also Jefferson’s sister.

According to NBC News, Carr sadly died after a long battle with congestive heart failure two years after filing the lawsuit, which leaves her son Zion Carr, as the beneficiary of the settlement, which will likely be of little comfort to a child who lost his mother a few years after witnessing the violent and senseless death of his aunt. The lawsuit stated that Jefferson’s killing left Zion with “severe and extreme mental and emotional distress,” as it would anyone who had gone through the same thing, especially at such a young age.

NBC reports that the city announced earlier this month that it had proposed a $3.5 million settlement. The Fort Worth City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve the payment.

“I for one, am excited about this opportunity to make sure that he can go to college and do things that his mother and his aunt wanted him to do as they were raising him,” Councilman Chris Nettles said, thanking Mayor Mattie Parker and the council for its work getting the settlement approved.

Parker said in a Nov. 2 statement that the payment was “the right thing to do.”

“I hope this can bring a degree of reconciliation and healing for Atatiana Jefferson’s loved ones,” she said.

The settlement will be split into lump sums to cover living expenses, a college savings plan and scheduled payments to Zion up to age 40, Deputy City Attorney Laetitia Coleman Brown said. He will receive most of the money “later in life,” she said, at the request of his family.

The irony in their story is that ex officer Aaron Dean was only at Jefferson’s homewhere she was babysitting and playing video games with Zionin response to a call for a welfare check. But arriving as another trigger-happy cop with little regard for Black life, all Dean did was cause unwellness in the Jefferson/Carr family by shooting and killing the 28-year-old through the window of her home.

Zion deserves all the compensation coming to him, and it still won’t be nearly enough.


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