Detriot, MI– Prosecutor Kym Worthy announced on Wednesday that her office will be moving to dismiss the case against Officer Joseph Weekley on Friday morning.
Weekley was originally charged with felony involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a misdemeanor, after 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot in the head and killed on May 16, 2010, during a botched police raid at her home.
The officer has already been on trial twice for this crime, both ending with deadlocked jurors and mistrials- even after the judge in the second trial shockingly dropped the manslaughter charge due to a motion by the defense. The same motion had been denied by a judge during his first trial.
“Today we personally informed the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones that we have made a decision that we would not be going to trial for a third time in the Joseph Weekley case. It is unfortunate that Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway granted a directed verdict dismissing the felony Manslaughter charge, leaving only the misdemeanor count of Careless Discharge Causing Injury or Death. Under the law her decision cannot be appealed. On Friday, January 30, 2015 at 9:00 a.m., we will move to dismiss the case.” Worthy announced in her statement.
The child was asleep on her couch with her grandmother when the police (who also happened to be filming a reality show) barged through their door, killing the small child before realizing they were not in the right home. The suspect they were looking for lived upstairs.
According to Weekley, a fellow officer threw a flash-bang grenade through the window, which temporarily blinded Weekley who had been first through the door. When the effects of the flash-bang wore off, the officer realized there was a person on the couch. As the officer aimed his weapon at the couch where the child was sleeping beneath a “Hanna Montana” blanket, he claims her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, smacked his MP5 submachine gun, causing him to pull the trigger and kill Aiyana.
Mertilla Jones disputes this claim and says that she reached for her granddaughter when the grenade came through the window, not for the officer’s gun, and did not make contact with an officer at any point during the assault on her home. Her fingerprints were not found on the weapon.
“I seen the light leave out of her eyes.” Jones testified in 2013.
The officers had good reason to act like they were in an action movie, as they were filming an episode of A&E’s “The First 48.” Before Weekley killed Aiyana, he had already made several appearances on the show. Many believe that the excessive tactics, including the flash-bang which was a major factor in her death, were done to please the producers of the show.
In 2007, police devised another made-for-tv raid on the home of Martin Westbrook, who was allegedly already in custody at the time of the raid. Westbrook and his wife sued Weekley and other members of the team for assault, false imprisonment and gross negligence, alleging that officers came into the home without warning, shot and killed the family’s two dogs for no reason and pointed guns at a child and infant, The Huffington Post reported.
The show’s producer, Allison Howard, was charged with perjury and obstruction of justice for showing the tape from the raid that left Aiyana dead to a third party and hindering the police investigation. She pleaded no contest to obstruction and recieved two years of probation and was fined $2,000. The perjury charge was dropped.
The mayor banned reality television involvement with police investigations in the aftermath of the killing, and the chief ultimately ended up resigning at the mayors request when it became known he had been pitching a reality series titled “The Chief.”
Estimates show that the total number of SWAT deployments across the country has increased from a few hundred per year in the 1970s, to a few thousand per year in the 80s, and in 2010, the Washington Times reported estimates being as high as 50,000 per year.
Aiyana was a victim of militarized police and another child who will never see justice. Police and apologists for the terror caused by these officers often character assassinate and victim blame the dead. Well, Aiyana was innocent and her grandmother was innocent. The officer’s attacked the wrong home.
This could happen to your family, and could be your child. Militarized police are a danger to us all.
Weekley remains protected behind a badge, never having been fired or even disciplined in the death of this helpless little girl.