“The family of a 7-year-old who was fatally shot during a botched raid in 2010 is suing Detroit police, alleging officers lied about how she was killed as part of a cover-up.
The civil rights lawsuit was filed in federal court Wednesday by attorney Geoffrey Fieger over the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. It names as defendants the city, the Detroit Police Department, Joseph Weekley, Robert Rowe and about 20 other, unknown officers on the Special Response Team involved in the incident.
When the SWAT-like squad conducted the midnight raid in search of a murder suspect in May 2010, Aiyana, who was sleeping on the couch, was fatally shot. Police were looking for Chauncey Owens, who lived upstairs in a separate unit of the duplex.
Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter and two lesser charges in her death, but the case was dropped in January after two trials ended with deadlocked juries and a judge dismissed the manslaughter charge.
The circumstances of the shooting are unclear. A flash-bang grenade was thrown at the beginning of the raid, potentially making it difficult to see. In court, Weekley acknowledged that he shot Aiyana. He said that he was in the house and accidentally pulled the trigger when Mertilla Jones, the girl’s grandmother, grabbed his gun. She denies touching it.
The lawsuit disputes Weekley’s version of events, alleging that the grenade went through the window and struck Aiyana. Then, the suit says, police “blindly fired random shots” from outside the home, with one of the bullets fatally striking Aiyana in the neck.
Officials have said Weekley was first through the door. According to the complaint, he “rushed into the house and made physical contact [with Mertilla Jones] in an intentional cover-up conspiracy to hide what happened.”
The suit alleges:” 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, and that the discharge of the firearm was the result of a physical struggle between Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother and the Defendant members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team. Defendant acted in concert to cover-up the facts and circumstances of the fatal shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. As soon as Defendants realize that they had entered the wrong unit of the duplex and had burned, shot and mortally wounded the innocent seven year old Aiyana StanleyJones, they mutually, either tacitly or overtly, agreed to commence a conspiracy to coverup the facts of what they had done”
Mistakes can happen and sometimes with tragic results. They were after all looking for a murder suspect. But if the what the family alleges is true, this guy needs to get the Jordanian pilot treatment.
Yeah, that’s me being nice.