Democratic presidential hopefuls took to Twitter on Saturday and Sunday to protest the death of Atatiana Koquice Jefferson, a black woman who was shot and killed by a police officer inside her own home early Saturday morning.
Jefferson, 28, lived in Fort Worth, Texas. Police arrived at the house after a neighbor called the non-emergency police number, noticing Jefferson’s doors were open and the lights were on, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported. Jefferson, who was playing video games with her nephew, heard a commotion and went to the window — where she was shot by a white police officer standing outside.
According to body camera footage released by the Fort Worth Police Department, the officer raised his flashlight and gun, shouted “put your hands up, show me your hands” and fired a shot within four seconds.
The two Texans running for president were quick to denounce the shooting Saturday, calling for systemic reform of policing.
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro tweeted: “How many articles do we need to read or videos do we need to watch before we do something to reform policing in this country?”
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke wrote: “We must demand accountability and promise to fight until no family has to face a tragedy like this again.”
On Sunday, they were joined by fellow candidates including California Sen. Kamala Harris, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and entrepreneur Andrew Yang, whose voices added to growing online fury from many activists — from filmmaker Ava DuVernay to writer and commentator Roxane Gay to best-selling author Angie Thomas.
Sanders called for the Justice Department to investigate Jefferson’s death and Yang offered his condolences, tweeting that the officer was in his second year on the job and “we must do better for our people.”
Harris, who has openly talked about her identity during the campaign as one of the few black candidates running for president, highlighted that the officer gave Jefferson four seconds to respond before shooting.
“Being Black in your own home shouldn't be a death sentence,” she wrote.
News of Jefferson’s shooting brought up memories in Texas of the 2018 shooting of 26-year-old Botham Jean in his apartment in Dallas. He was killed by Amber Guyger, an off-duty police officer who said she mistook his apartment for her own in the same building. She was found guilty earlier this month.