FORT WORTH (CBSNewsTexas.com) – The City of Fort Worth reached a potential $3.5 million settlement for the nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, who was shot and killed by a Fort Worth police officer in October 2019.
Her nephew, then 7 years old, was playing video games with his aunt at her house before she died.
A concerned neighbor had called a non-emergency line because the home’s front door was open.
Body camera footage shows Fort Worth police officer Aaron Dean making his way to the back of the house, where he said he saw Jefferson through a window, allegedly holding a gun.
Dean was ultimately convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to nearly 12 years in prison.
The City of Fort Worth has now proposed a $3.5 settlement to help take care of Zion.
“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.”
Nettles knows the money can’t bring Jefferson back, but he hopes it can make the nephew’s life better.
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.
In a statement, Jefferson’s sister, Ashley Carr, said: “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. We hope this settlement serves as a reminder that justice can be achieved, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy.”
Nettles said he has spent time with Jefferson’s nephew and believes he’s capable of great things.
“He is one of the brightest young men I have seen,” Nettles said. “…I’m excited to see what he will do. He might replace me one of these days. He’s very enthusiastic about what he can do for the community.”
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.
Here is the full statement from Ashley Carr, the spokesperson for the Carr Family:
We are pleased to announce a historic settlement of $3.5 million for Zion Carr, the 11-year-old nephew of Atatiana Jefferson, who tragically lost his aunt in a devastating incident in 2019. This settlement, reached with the City of Fort Worth, aims to provide Zion with the necessary resources to build a meaningful future, despite the irreparable damage caused by the loss of his beloved aunt. Zion Carr was only 7 years old when he was playing video games with his aunt, Atatiana Jefferson, in the comfort of their own home. The unimaginable occurred when a Fort Worth police officer, responding to a welfare check, fatally shot Atatiana Jefferson. This incident shook the community to its core and highlighted the urgent need for police reform and accountability.
“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,” said Ashley Carr, spokesperson for the Carr family. “We hope this settlement serves as a reminder that justice can be achieved, even in the face of unimaginable tragedy.”
The $3.5 million settlement is a significant step towards providing Zion Carr with the support he deserves. It will enable him to access the necessary educational, emotional, and financial resources to overcome the challenges he has faced since that fateful day in 2019. The Carr family is committed to ensuring that Zion’s future is not defined by this tragedy, but rather by his resilience and ability to thrive.
This settlement also serves as a reminder of the importance of holding law enforcement accountable for their actions. It is a testament to the tireless efforts of the Carr family, their legal team, and the community advocates who have fought for justice on behalf of Atatiana Jefferson and her loved ones.
The Carr family would like to express their gratitude to the community for their unwavering support throughout this difficult journey. They also extend their appreciation to the legal team, for their dedication and commitment to seeking justice for Zion Carr.
Caroline Vandergriff joined the CBS 11 News team in September 2019. She grew up in Arlington (go Lamar Vikings!), and is thrilled to be back home in North Texas.