Fired Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and His Attorney Weigh in on Atatiana Jefferson Shooting

FORT WORTH  (WBAP/KLIF News) – Fired Fort Worth Police Chief Joel Fitzgerald and his attorney are weighing in on the fatal shooting of a Dallas woman by a Fort Worth police officer.

28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson was shot and killed early Saturday morning during what was supposed to be a welfare check.

It happened just before 2:30 a.m., when a neighbor called the non-emergency police line when he noticed her front door was slightly open.

As the responding officers walked the perimeter, an unidentified officer noticed Jefferson in the window and fired the fatal shot.
Fort Worth police issued a statement that said the officer “perceived a threat” before firing at Jefferson.
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In a statement issued Sunday, Fitzgerald’s attorney Stephen Kennedy said the department has deteriorated since his client’s firing and demanded his client be reinstated.
Had Dr. Fitzgerald been reinstated months ago, Atatiana would be alive today, and the number of police shootings would not be in double digits.
In his own statement, Fitzgerald offered prayers for Atatiana’s family before urging the Fort Worth Police Department’s leadership to make some changes.
I urge department leadership to immediately order the mandatory recertification of all police officers in de-escalation, procedural justice and implicit bias. It is abundantly clear that since May 20th, 2019, we have taken significant steps backwards. “The way we’ve always done it,” is neither proactive or acceptable anymore; every communitymember in every part of the city deserves our best. Officers across the county commonly close open garage doors and conduct welfare checks that yeild non-violent results. Having institutional control over the law enforcement agency is a must, especially when dealing with newer generations of officers who erroneously default to equipment over communications skills.”
He also questioned the way this shooting is being handled by the department and city leaders so far.

Yesterday, a different officer shoots an innocent woman in response to a welfare check call. In response we have been presented with blurred pictures of an alleged weapon, a five-minute press conference with no details from a lieutenant who to his chagrin, presented no solutions.During this time of crisis, where is the interim police chief? Where is POA President Manny Ramirez? Where is Mayor Price? Why weren’t they at Sunday’s press conference? Why was no substantive information provided? On May 19, 2019, when my department successfully rescued an abducted girl from a kidnapper, they raced to the microphone to seek credit and fame. Yet today, when our community needs them more than ever, they are noticeably and inexcusably absent. There is a vacuum of leadership and these individuals must be held accountable. They are, in a sense, accomplices because they facilitate a system that reinforces social stratification, inequality, and hostility. In just a few short months, we have become a city of hate. Our leaders must be held accountable.”

Fitzgerald was fired in May after a confrontation he had with another officer at a conference in Washington D.C. He and Kennedy said he was fired because he was investigating alleged corruption within the department.

Since then, the two have been fighting to get Fitzgerald reinstated.

As the investigation moves forward, the Jefferson family, local activists and a large part of the community are calling for justice for Atatiana and answers from the police department.
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