Fort Worth police

Temporary Restraining Order Postpones Funeral for Atatiana Jefferson

Funeral will be rescheduled after a Monday court hearing in Dallas County, attorney says

The funeral for Atatiana Jefferson, the woman who was shot and killed inside her own home by a Fort Worth police officer, has been postponed. 

Lee Merritt, an attorney for Jefferson's family, said Saturday morning that the move was a result of a temporary restraining order that was granted in a Dallas court to stop the funeral.

"The family is hurt, they’re upset. They wanted to spend this day celebrating the life of Atatiana. Unfortunately, a dispute, an internal dispute has interfered with that," Merritt said. "We rarely see this play out publicly."

Merritt said the funeral would be rescheduled after a court hearing Monday in Dallas County. 

The order, filed on Friday, says Marquis A. Jefferson is Atatiana's father and that he would suffer immediate and irreparable harm if the court did  not stop Bonita Body and Golden Gate Funeral Home from participating in the activities of the wake, funeral and burial of Atatiana Jefferson.

Funeral services were set for Saturday, Oct. 19, 2019, at The Potter's House of Dallas.

Bruce Carter, a spokesperson for Marquis Jefferson, said he wanted to be a part of the funeral planning services but was left out.

"When you start to denounce the man of his rights to be a father and to operate that capacity, I think we start talking about other civil rights, other issues - especially in the black community, we're always accused of black men not doing their jobs. Not standing up," Carter said.

Beyond that, Carter said Jefferson had been his daughter's provider for her entire life and had the funds to pay for a funeral. What he found most alarming, according to Carter, was a GoFundMe account set up in his daughter's name.

Mr. Jefferson sent an email out to Mr. Merritt specifically asking him to not use his daughter's name and a funeral to gain money
[18:48] He's the father. He's the dad. He has her been her provider since day 1.

"Mr. Jefferson sent an email out to Mr. Merritt specifically asking him to not use his daughter's name and a funeral to gain money," he said. "He's the father. He's the dad. He has been her provider since day one."

Merritt told NBC 5 a different story.

"I can say emphatically I've never heard from Mr. Marquis Jefferson," he said. "The first time we've heard the claims of this lack of inclusion of his desire to be part of the ceremony was with the TRO."

The order states that Marquis Jefferson shall have full authority to make arrangements for the funeral and burial of Atatiana Jefferson.

The Potter's House confirmed the funeral had been postponed. A representative said the church wanted to respect the wishes of the family.  

A wake went on as scheduled at The Potter's House on Friday. 

Bonita Body, who the order says is Atatiana's aunt, and the funeral home, have been ordered to appear in court at 10 a.m. on Monday.

"I'm encouraging both sides of the families to come together and talk. I think a lot of this can be worked outside of the courtroom," Merritt said Saturday.

Carter said Marquis Jefferson would propose a wake to be held Wednesday night at Golden Gate Funeral Home and a funeral service to be held Thursday afternoon.

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