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Job Interview Sheds Light On Former Officer's Assault Charge

We are learning more about former Fort Worth Police Officer Aaron Dean and a 2004 assault charge filed against him.

NBC 5 Investigates obtained Dean's personnel file, including the 2017 recording of his applying to join the Fort Worth Police Department.

The job interview provided a glimpse into the life of the officer, who in the early morning hours of Oct. 12, shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson inside her home.

In the 17-minute video, Dean is asked a series of questions including to explain a 2004 assault charge against him.

Notes from the interview state Dean told the department he was cited for 'assault by contact' after touching a woman's breast in the campus library of UTA.

"There was a young lady at the school flirting with me," Dean told the interview panel. "I wanted to respond, to see where it would go. It escalated a bit. I touched her inappropriately. It was an inappropriate action. And she, of course, took exception to it and rightfully so."

He added, he asked the woman not to report it to police.

"I asked her not to report it because I was in a very conservative church at the time [and] worried about tarring and feathering me, and all of that," said Dean. "She did report it. The Arlington police issued me a citation for simple assault. I plead no contest and paid the fine."

Dean told the department he learned from his mistake.

"What's changed since then is being careful about my actions and how they're perceived by others," Dean told the interview panel.

We asked the Fort Worth Police Department if the incident should have prevented Dean's employment.

Fort Worth Police released the following statement:

The Fort Worth Police Department conducts an exhaustive background check on all police officer applicants.  A criminal history check is a routine part of that screening process and the effect of a candidate's criminal record is assessed under the applicable guidelines, as set by the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement and the Civil Service Commission's Local Rules. TCOLE regulates minimum standards in the hiring process as well as disqualifying criminal history. To maintain consistency with our hiring practices, FWPD applies the standards as set forth by TCOLE, the Civil Service Commission's Local Rules, the hiring requirements found in the Local Government Code, and the Meet and Confer Agreement.

According to these hiring requirements posted on the Fort Worth Police Department website, a Class C misdemeanor would not prevent employment as a police officer.

"It doesn't really surprise me," said Kathryn Jacob, CEO of Safe Haven, an advocate for domestic assault victims.

Jacob said acts of violence or assault touch every sector of society and those employed or seeking employment with a police department are no exception.

She said Dean's own words about the encounter raised concerns when he said the young lady was flirting with him.

"I think we really need to steer clear of blaming the victim," said Jacob. "It's very common for an offender to blame a victim for their own behavior. They make it seem like it was the victim's fault for doing those things."

Jacob said when it comes to any type of abuse it's always rooted in power.

"I think we have to pay attention to who holds the power and how they use it," said Jacob.

NBC 5 reached out to Aaron Dean's attorney, Jim Lane, who said a gag order in the case prevents him from commenting. Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price issued no comment.

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