Atatiana Jefferson became another Black person to be inexplicably slain by police in their home when she was killed by a Fort Worth, Texas officer who had been summoned to the victim’s home in response to a neighbors’ request for a wellness check. The killing occurred despite a Police Department policy that prohibits officers from firing into a building unless they are being subjected to deadly assault.
“We are deeply saddened and angered at the preventable loss of yet another innocent Black life—especially in light of the policies that, had they been adhered to, could have prevented the killing of Atatiana Jefferson,” said Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc (LDF). “There is a lot more to learn about this killing, but a few things are clear. First, the community deserves a full and independent investigation of the incident that cost this young woman her life. Second, the officers involved in this killing must be held accountable. Lastly, we demand the Department of Justice fulfill its obligation to investigate patterns and practices of unconstitutional policing; we echo earlier calls by community leaders for a federal investigation into the Fort Worth Police Department made in response to prior incidents involving police killings of unarmed Black people that have taken place in this community.
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.