City of Fort Worth Considers Millions in Settlement for Atatiana Jefferson's 11-Year-Old Nephew

Photo: Amanda McCoy (AP)
Photo: Amanda McCoy (AP)

Zion Carr was only seven years old when his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, was shot and killed by a Fort Worth, Tex. police officer while he was in the house. Four years later, the city reached an agreement to pay him more than $3 million.

In 2019, Carr was playing with his Nintendo Switch in the living room of Jefferson’s home when a neighbor called the police to report her front door being open, police say. According to body camera footage, Fort Worth officer Aaron Dean arrived and snuck to the back of the house where he allegedly saw Jefferson through her window holding a firearm. He fatally shot her from outside the house.

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“This mayor and council wanted to make sure that the minor child, who experienced – as we all believe, one of the worst things a kid can experience – is taken care of, and that was our goal,” said Fort Worth City Councilman Chris Nettles. “That was our assignment, and I think we have accomplished that.”

A lump sum would be placed in a trust for his immediate needs. The proposed settlement also includes a college savings plan to cover up to 8 years of school. The remaining funds would go to continued payments until he is 40 years old.

City council still has to vote to approve the settlement, and it will only resolve a portion of the family’s lawsuit against the city. The claims from Jefferson’s estate will continue to be litigated, according to the city.

The settlement is the second victory for Jefferson’s family, coming on the heels of Dean’s manslaughter conviction and 11-year prison sentence.

Ashley Carr, Jefferson’s sister and family spokesperson, said in a statement that the family aims for Carr’s life to not be defined by this tragedy but rather inspire others that justice is possible.

“While the money will never repair the damage done to then 7-year-old Zion Carr, it will help him have access to the resources he needs to build a meaningful future,” Carr said. “We hope this settlement serves as a reminder that justice can be achieved, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy.”

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