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She was a young, Black female professional and daughter with a vibrant life and blossoming career, cut down in four seconds in an act of domestic terrorism that has devastated a multi-generational family.

atatiana

This past Saturday morning, twenty-eight year-old Atatiana Jefferson was murdered in cold blood in her home by a white Fort Worth, Texas police officer responding to a neighbor’s request for a “welfare check”. The police officer yelled for Jefferson to put her hand up through a window, then fired his weapon four seconds later.

Jefferson was playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew. The murder of Jefferson comes on the heels of the conviction and puffball sentencing of white female police officer Amber Guyger for the senseless killing of Botham Jean in his Dallas home. Guyger received ten years for murdering Jean, then was the recipient of a stomach turning gesture of courtroom forgiveness from Jean’s brother and the Black female presiding judge.

Black folks who reach out for “help” and “assistance” from the police either wind up dead themselves or inadvertently cause another Black person to be killed.

Like scores of innocent African American victims before them, Jefferson and Jean were slain in spaces that were ostensibly safe. In Jefferson’s case, the neighbor believed that they were contacting a “non-emergency” number which wouldn’t require law enforcement. Time and again, Black folks who reach out for “help” and “assistance” from the police either wind up dead themselves or inadvertently cause another Black person to be killed.

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The blind hope that law enforcement will protect or honor Black life and the sanctity of Black home space has proven lethal for Black folks. From Eulia Love (murdered by LAPD, 1979) to Eleanor Bumpurs (murdered by NYPD, 1984) to Amadou Diallo (murdered by NYPD, 1999) to Jean, Jefferson, and many others, domestic police terrorism has continued to be a toxic mental, emotional, and physical public health threat for communities of color.

Jefferson is the fifth person to have been murdered by Fort Worth police this year. A GoFundMe campaign has been established for her family with the following message:

"Before law enforcement goes about their pattern of villainizing this beautiful, peaceful woman, turning her into a suspect, a silhouette, or threat, let me tell you about 28 y/o #AtatianaJefferson “Tay”. She was a pre-med graduate of Xavier University. She was very close to her family. She was the auntie who stayed up on Friday night playing video games with her 8-year-old nephew. She worked in pharmaceutical equipment sales. Her mom had recently gotten very sick, so she was home taking care of the house and loving her life. There was no reason for her to be murdered. None. We must have justice."

Folks who give to the GoFundMe should also push the Ft. Worth police commission, Mayor Betsy Price and Texas Governor Greg Abbott to fire and prosecute the officer who murdered Jefferson. After generations and centuries of state-sanctioned murder, bloodshed, and multi-billion dollar police state looting, there can be no more compelling evidence of the need to abolish the police.

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Sikivu Hutchinson
BlackFemLens