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Former Texas officer sentenced for killing Black woman in her home

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Fort Worth Police Department officer Aaron York Dean is seen in a booking photo at the Tarrant County Jail in Fort Worth, Texas, U.S. October 14, 2019. Tarrant County Jail/Handout via REUTERS.

A former Texas police officer was sentenced to over 11 years in prison on Tuesday for shooting and killing a Black woman in her home in 2019.

Aaron Dean, the former Fort Worth police officer, was sentenced in a Tarrant County court to 11 years, 10 months in prison, a court clerk said. He had been convicted last week by a jury in the killing.

Atatiana Jefferson, 28, was shot dead by Dean, who is white, while standing in her home with a handgun after hearing noises outside. Afterward, Dean resigned from the force and police later charged him with murder.

Dean and his partner had gone to Jefferson’s home after a concerned neighbor called police to say her front door was open.

She was playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew when Dean arrived and crept around the back of the home, gun drawn, according to his arrest warrant and bodycam video.

Jefferson heard noises, pulled her handgun out of her purse and pointed it at a bedroom window, her nephew had told police at the time, according to the warrant.

Jefferson’s death took place about seven months before the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer who knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. Floyd’s death led to global demonstrations against racism and police brutality.

Fort Worth Police Department had said in 2019 that Dean violated a series of police policies.

Dean’s attorneys said he fired in self-defense, but prosecutors had argued there was no evidence of him seeing a gun in Jefferson’s  hand before firing through the bedroom window.

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