See update below. It’s as bad as it sounded, if not worse.
I’ve asked my family to never call the police if they think my “welfare” needs to be checked.
Fort Worth police officer fatally shoots woman in her own home
A Fort Worth police officer shot and killed a woman inside her own home early Saturday morning, CBS Dallas-Fort Worth reports. Just before 2:30 a.m., police responded to a welfare call in the Hillside Morningside neighborhood, where the front door to a residence was reported open.
When officers arrived, they searched the perimeter of the house and saw a person standing inside the residence, near a window.
In a statement released Saturday afternoon, the Fort Worth Police Department said an officer perceived a threat then drew his weapon. He fired one shot, striking and killing 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson.
Let’s look at everything they did wrong.
This was reported as a “welfare check.” (Be ready for that story to change to “possible burglary.”) Instead of going to the door and… checking, they prowled the perimeter. Which means they never properly identified themselves as police.
They saw someone at a window. In Texas, civilians in their own homes are suspicious for checking for prowlers.
They treated a woman looking out her window as a threat. Boom! Dead resident. Please note that, based on years of reading news and police reports, if an actual weapon — or possible weaponized cellphone, flashlight, “finger gun,” etc. — had actually been seen, the cops would damned well have made sure that was in the news. (But that won’t stop them from revising the story to suggest some object that a trigger-happy lunatic could “reasonably” have mistaken for a weapon.)
The victim has been identified. The perp’s identity is being kept secret. That shit — cops protecting apparently bad cops — has to end. It’s hard to tell the “one bad apple” from the unspoiled fruits if all the apples do their best to look spoiled.
If any civilian had shot and killed a woman in her own home, that person would be instantly charged pending further investigation. For cops, it’s no charges and a paid vacation.
I’ll wait for more info — though god save Ms. Jefferson’s family if the Texas Rangers “investigate” this case as they did Guyger’s murder of Botham Jean — before making my final call, but as described in the above article, this already looks like cops acting like prowlers in the middle of the night shot and killed a woman for spotting them.
It’s decades past time for police to change their “welfare check” procedures. A welfare check should presuppose that someone might need help, not killing. Police should immediately identify themselves as, “Police. We’re here to see if you need assistance because [name of reporting individual] in worried about you.”
That simple statement identifies the police as someone other than — I hope — home invaders, explains their presence without fear of arrest, and reassures the subject that this is based on concern by someone they know (and if a setup, begins the process of letting them face their “accuser).
At this point, I expect someone to tell me how dangerous “welfare checks” are for cops. My answer to that would be: so long as they conduct welfare checks by acting like burglars searching for a way in at 2:30 in the morning, checks should be dangerous for them.
Post-incident: Police need to drop the thin-blue-line crap. If you act like a an enemy separate from the citizens, people are going to treat you as the enemy. No more dual rules; one set for civilians who do exactly the same thing as cops, and another set for cops.
Stop pretending you only had a fraction of a second to act, and that excuses any “mistake.” Dual rules again; every concealed carrying civilian has the same time to evaluate and respond, but we don’t get special protections. I’m tired of cops being held to lower standards than everyone else.
I’m tired of civilians getting the presumption of guilt (whether shooting in self defense, or looking out her window), while cops get presumed innocence for the most egregious acts.
Update: More info, bodycam video.
Holy fuck. Two cops visible sneaking around the home exterior. Neither ever identifies themselves. Not even when the BWC wearer looks in the “open” front door (main door open, screen door closed… which I do around here when the temperature finally drops.
The shooting itself: “Put your hands up! Show me — BANG — your hands.”
Yes, the motherfucker shot her so fast that not only was compliance physically impossible, but it was impossible for the cop to even give his “order.” One second from when he began shouting to the shot. One fucking second… for a woman inside her own home to decide if a cop or a home invader was threatening her.
The “welfare check” call came from a neighbor who thought it unusual for the front door to be open. But rather than walking over and asking, Atatiana, are you okay?, he called a nonemergency police number.
There has been a fairly recent occasion when I thought a neighbor should be checked. So I walked over, rang the bell, knocked, and called out loud, letting her know who I was. No one was killed. I didn’t even pull a gun to do the “welfare check.”
No wonder I’m no longer a peace officer.
More: This shit doesn’t wash anymore either:
Near 02:25 a.m., Fort Worth Police Central Division officers responded to an Open Structure call for services…
No. They were responding to an nonemergency welfare check call. I’m damned tired of “dispatch” “accidentally” upgrading the officer dispatch to something else so the officers have an “excuse” to be on unnecessarily heightened alert in which they can pretend it was “reasonable” to perceive a “threat.”
Fuck that. I’ve seen it multiple times, in multiple jurisdictions. It’s nothing but dispatch — maybe — presetting a defense argument for out-of-control psycho cops. If the dispatch was bad, charge the dispatcher as an accessory to murder, too.
And release the dispatch recordings to prove it. Or would that prov e they were correctly sent on a welfare check, undermining the bogus “perceived a threat” claim?