A white Texas police officer who shot and killed a black woman in her home last month had been charged with assault before becoming a cop after a friend reported him for touching her breast.
Aaron Dean, 35, told officials about the 2004 charge during his job interview with Forth Worth Police in 2017.
In a recording of the interview, he says he wanted to join the police for ‘the action and adventure of working in law enforcement’.
Dean was also asked if he would he be prepared to kill someone, and responded ‘no problem’, according to the Forth Worth Star-Telegram.
The 35-year-old is now facing a murder charge for shooting 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson through her back window after responding to a call about the front door being open. He resigned from the department in October.
Jefferson was babysitting her 8-year-old nephew when police arrived to her house after a neighbor called a non-emergency line.
Aaron Dean, a Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman in her home last month, was previously charged with assault after a woman reported him for touching her inappropriately. He is pictured during his interview with Forth Worth PD in 2017
Dean, 35, is facing a murder charge for shooting 28-year-old Atatiana Jefferson through her back window after responding to a call about the front door being open last month
Dean acknowledged during the 2017 hiring process that he touched a female friend inappropriately in a library at the University of Texas at Arlington.
He said he pleaded no-contest to the misdemeanor charge, according the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. The outlet obtained personnel records and an interview recording for his job with the police force in 2017.
In the interview, Dean said ‘a girl I was friends with’ reported him to police after he stroked her breast.
He said: ‘During the course of the exchange, I put my arms around her and at one point stroked her breast.
‘She told me this made her uncomfortable and asked me to stop, which I immediately did, quite embarrassed and apologetic. She later reported the incident to police.’
He claimed he asked the woman not to contact authorities as he went to a conservative church and was ‘worried about tarring and feathering and all that.’
Dean pleaded no-contest to the charge, which is a misdemeanor, and paid a fine. He graduated from the Dallas-area university in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in physics and joined the Fort Worth police force in April 2018.
The charge from more than a decade earlier wouldn’t prevent Dean from becoming an officer under Fort Worth’s civil service regulations.
In a police evaluation in April, Dean’s supervisor commended him for working at the level of more experienced officers, exhorting him to ‘keep up the good work.’
But in a May 2018 performance review, the supervisor wrote that Dean had poor communication skills, sometimes suffered from tunnel vision and had missed calls for help over the radio.
A makeshift memorial rests on the sidewalk that leads to the home of Atatiana Jefferson in Fort Worth, Texas
A bullet hole from the police officer’s shot is seen in the rear window of Atatiana Jefferson’s home in Fort Worth, Texas on October 15
Another review accused him of being evasive rather than owning up to doing wrong.
Dean’s attorney, Jim Lane, has not commented on his client’s state of mind or his response to the murder charge, and the judge overseeing Dean’s case last week issued a gag order barring the parties from discussing it publicly.
During his job interview, Dean reportedly said he had aspired to join the military and saw becoming a police officer as a ‘way to do some of those same things without having to deploy overseas.’
Dean said he wanted to serve the public and liked ‘the action and adventure’ that he believed came with being an officer.
During his 17-minute interview, he was also asked if he would be able ‘kill somebody if you have to.’ He then responded: ‘No problem.’
Dean claimed he would use force to defend himself and others or if there was a threat when he was questioned as to whether ‘there was a time to fight.’
He also said that he had a license to carry a firearm. He told interviewers: ‘The time to fight is certainly if I’m under, or someone I care about or I’m responsible for, is under imminent threat.
During his interview, Dean said ‘a girl I was friends with’ reported him to police after he stroked her breast. He pleaded no-contest to the charge, which is a misdemeanor, and paid a fine.
Atatiana was playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew Zion when Dean arrived and crept around the back of the home, gun drawn and unannounced, according to his arrest warrant and bodycam video
Earlier this month, hundreds of mourners attended Jefferson’s funeral, including Fort Worth’s mayor and the interim police chief in Dallas
‘Absolutely if there is an imminent threat that I think it is necessary to defend myself, then that is absolutely the time to do so.’
Bodycam footage shows Dean shot Jefferson early on the morning of October 12 after entering her backyard.
Dean cannot be heard identifying himself as police on the video. Police said Dean drew his gun after ‘perceiving a threat’ but that there was no sign he or the other officer who responded ever knocked on the front door.
A gun was found in Jefferson’s home after the shooting, but police and city leaders have said it was not relevant to her death.
Dean worked for the Fort Worth Police Department for two years before his resignation. He was interviewed in March 2017 after he completed training at the police academy and was hired the following August.
Earlier this month, hundreds of mourners attended Jefferson’s funeral, including Fort Worth’s mayor and the interim police chief in Dallas.
The service for the pre-med graduate took place just days after it was rescheduled due to a family dispute.
Fort Worth Police released body camera footage of Dean firing the fatal shot through Jefferson’s window. Investigators said the officer did not identify himself as police beforehand
Dean shot Atatiana through the window of her bedroom in the early hours of October 12.
The 34-year-old officer and his partner went to Atatiana’s home after a concerned neighbor called police to say her front door was open.
Fort Worth Police Department Chief Ed Kraus said Dean was dispatched to investigate an ‘open structure call,’ a situation which could mean a door left open by accident or a burglary in process.
Atatiana was playing video games with her eight-year-old nephew Zion when Dean arrived and crept around the back of the home, gun drawn and unannounced, according to his arrest warrant and bodycam video.
The victim heard noises, pulled her handgun out of her purse and pointed it at a bedroom window, Zion told police, according to the warrant.
Dean shined his flashlight into the window and said: ‘Put your hands up, show me your hands!’
He fired a split second later, without identifying himself as police, bodycam video showed.
Dean resigned from the force two days after the shooting and police charged him with murder.
Kraus said Dean violated a series of police policies and it was understandable that Atatiana would draw her gun in such a situation.
‘We have completed an initial review of the case, and based on the evidence we intend to ask the Grand Jury for an indictment of murder against Aaron Dean,’ Tarrant County Criminal District Attorney Sharen Wilson said in a statement.
‘We will prosecute this case to the fullest extent of the law.’