Fort Worth

Exclusive: Job Interview Video Sheds Light on Police Officer Who Killed Atatiana Jefferson

Officer discusses use of deadly force, becoming a police officer during interview

The Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a black woman inside her own home predicted he would make a good cop and would act responsibly under pressure, according to a videotaped recording of his applying for the job.

"Will you be able to kill somebody if you have to," one member of the five-officer review panel asked Aaron Dean.

"No problem," Dean said, without hesitation.

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

Dean, who has since resigned from the Fort Worth Police Department, was dispatched to Jefferson's home, along with his partner, on a report that her front door was open.

He resigned two days after the shooting and has pleaded not guilty to murder in the 28-year-old woman's death.

In his interview before the review panel — consisting of two officers, a detective, an investigator and a corporal — he said he wanted to be a cop because he was looking for adventure and wanted to help people.

"I am interested in working for this department because I want to serve my fellow citizens in a very close and personal way …," said Dean, dressed nicely in coat and tie.

He added: "I live in the city. I like the city a lot. I like the feel of the city."

NBC 5 Investigates has obtained exclusive video of the Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed a woman in her own home.

In the interview, he admitted to one prior run-in with the law when he was in college.

"There was a young lady at the school flirting with me. I wanted to respond to see where it would go. It escalated a bit," Dean told the panel.

"I touched her inappropriately. It was an inappropriate action. And she, of course, took exception to it and rightfully so," he said.

Dean told the panel he pleaded no contest to a charge of simple assault, paid a fine, and learned from his mistake.

"What's changed since then is being careful about my actions and how they're perceived by others," he said.

Dean's training records note some concerns from supervisors in his first year on the job, including that he had "tunnel vision" and "needs improvement on communicating with the public and fellow officers."

But in his most recent job evaluation this spring, he received high marks from a supervisor who said, "You are a young officer working at a level commonly seen from more experienced officers. Keep up the good work!"

In his job interview, Dean said he was experienced with weapons, but would only use them to protect himself and others.

"I do have a license to carry …that, of course, is constantly on my mind…," he said.

Dean, who was 32 at the time, said he had no prior experience in law enforcement and worked as a construction manager.

He said his age would make him a better police officer.

"Being 32, and not being wet behind the ears anymore …I think brings maturity that you might not find in someone straight out of high school," he said.

Dean's attorney, Jim Lane, told NBC 5 Investigates he could not comment because of a judge's gag order in the case.

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