The family of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court Wednesday, alleging police conspired with city officials to cover up the details surrounding the tragic event.
As we previously covered, the young girl was asleep on a couch in her home when police mistakenly raided the wrong home, launching a flash-bang grenade into the residence and fatally shooting the sleeping child.
The raid was conducted on May 16, 2010 when police were looking for murder suspect Chauncey Owens, who lived in a separate unit.
According to Officer Joseph 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.
While the exact circumstances surrounding the death are unclear, the lawsuit states: “Defendants Joseph Weekley and Robert Rowe unlawfully seized Aiyana Stanley-Jones, used excessive force against her and unlawfully used deadly force thereby inflicting horrendous personal injuries and ultimately death from which certain damages naturally followed to the members of Aiyana Stanley-Jones family and/or estate.”
Weekley previously faced a jury twice after the shooting, both trials dismissed.
Named as defendants in the lawsuit include the city of Detroit, Officers Weekley and Rowe, The Detroit Police Department, and approximately 20 unidentified members of the Special Response Team.
All defendants are accused of conspiracy in the suit, which states: “Upon Defendants realizing that they had critically injured the seven-year-old girl, they intentionally conspired to cover-up their unlawful acts by providing false and fictitious information to the authorities and to the media regarding the shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, including falsely claiming that the bullet that killed her was fired from inside the lower unit of the duplex rather than from the outside…”
The lawsuit, filed by attorney Geoffrey Fieger, seeks damages for the family of at least $7,500,000, and the family has requested a trial by jury.