Atatiana Jefferson: ‘Why I will no longer call the police’

Voltairine De Cleyre, the classical anarchist, was so anti-government and anti-police she refused to press charges even against the man who wounded her in an assassination attempt.


James Smith has never wanted much to do with the police but he called them to check on his neighbour in the Texas city of Fort Worth, because it was late at night and her front door was wide open. Soon afterwards he heard a gunshot, and later saw the dead body of a 28-year-old woman, his neighbour’s daughter, carried out on a stretcher.

James Smith is angry, hurt and tired. Every death of a black person at the hands of a police officer takes him back to the moment in October when Atatiana Jefferson was killed.

“I have to live with this guilt, with this cloud hanging over me for the rest of my years,” he says. Because he was the reason that the police were there that night.

At around 02:30 on 12 October he was woken by his niece and nephew, who told him the front door of their neighbour’s house was wide open and the lights were on.

The owner of the house, Yolanda Carr, had a heart condition and had recently been in and out of intensive care, so Smith was worried something had happened to her.

He went across the road and noticed the lawnmower and other gardening equipment were still plugged in, which he thought was strange.


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