AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

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AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

Post by twinkletoes on Sun Oct 26, 2014 6:35 am

Aiyana Jones, 7-Year-Old Shot And Killed By Detroit Police, Was Sleeping According To Family


   | By COREY WILLIAMS and ED WHITE  
Posted:  05/17/2010 4:28 am EDT    Updated:  05/25/2011 4:30 pm EDT


DETROIT — Police who carried out a raid on a family home that left a 7-year-old girl dead over the weekend were accompanied by a camera crew for a reality television show, and an attorney says video of the siege contradicts the police account of what happened.

Geoffrey Fieger, an attorney for the family of young Aiyana Jones, said he has seen three or four minutes of video of the raid, although he declined to say whether it was shot by the crew for the A&E series "The First 48," which has been shadowing Detroit homicide detectives for months.

Police have said officers threw a flash grenade through the first-floor window of the two-family home, and that an officer's gun discharged, killing the girl, during a struggle or after colliding with the girl's grandmother inside the home.

But Fieger said the video shows an officer lobbing the grenade and then shooting into the home from the porch.

"There is no question about what happened because it's in the videotape," Fieger said. "It's not an accident. It's not a mistake. There was no altercation."

"Aiyana Jones was shot from outside on the porch. The videotape shows clearly the officer throwing through the window a stun grenade-type explosive and then within milliseconds of throwing that, firing a shot from outside the home," he said.

A&E spokesman Dan Silberman said neither he nor anyone else from the network would comment about the case, and he denied a request by The Associated Press for the footage.

Detroit police were trying to obtain the film crew's footage, Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said Monday.

Fieger said the investigation into what happened during the raid "needed to go no further than the videotape."

"The videotape shows clearly that the assistant police chief and the officers on the scene are engaging in an intentional cover up of the events," Fieger said. He said more than one camera was recording at the scene, and that the footage includes sound.

Police arrested the target of the raid, a 34-year-old man suspected of killing a 17-year-old boy, in the upstairs unit in the two-family home. Police had warrants to search both properties, and family members of the slain girl were seen going in and out of both on Monday. The suspect has not been charged, and it was not immediately clear what relationship he had to the slain girl.

The case has been handed over to the Michigan State Police to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Monday.

Some, including the slain girl's family and others, have questioned what effect the cameras may have had on the tactics used during raid on the home, which had toys strewn about the front lawn on Monday.

The police department is understaffed, and officers have said they feel vulnerable – especially after one patrolman was killed and four others were wounded during a gunfight with a suspect in a vacant home earlier this month.

Two prominent criminal defense attorneys said they were unaware of past instances when Detroit police used flash grenades in raids when children were possibly present.

"That's a new one," said Detroit lawyer Corbett Edge O'Meara. "That does seem to be a pretty extreme measure. It doesn't surprise me that the police had no concern whether they were endangering the lives of children when they made this raid."

Attorney Marvin Barnett was more blunt: "I've never heard that before in my entire career, that you've thrown a flash bomb in a house unless you've got an armed suspect and you know there is nobody else in the house."

"I'd like to know who gave the order to do that," Barnett said.

Godbee said the department was confident the film crew's presence had no effect on how the raid was conducted. He said the police department's use of flash grenades is decided on a "case by case" basis.

"It primarily goes to the severity of the crime and the potential of violence from the offender we're trying to get in custody," Godbee said.

He declined to comment on whether the officers involved in the raid were aware children were in the home.

"Our tactics absolutely will be addressed and assessed at the appropriate time," Godbee said.

The family was left searching for answers. They retained Fieger, a high-powered attorney who also represented assisted suicide advocate Dr. Jack Kevorkian, but the girl's father said he wants to know what led to his daughter's death.

"They killed my baby, and I want someone to tell the truth," he said Sunday.

Police have not identified the officer whose gun fired the shot that killed Aiyana. Godbee said he is a 14-year veteran with six to seven years on the Special Response Team, and that he has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The officer was cleared following a nonfatal shooting last summer. Police were fired upon by someone barricaded in a house and returned fire, Godbee said.

The Detroit police department has been under two court-ordered consent decrees since 2003 aimed at, among other things, correcting how and when its officers use force on suspects.

The department declined to say whether it was being paid by the television show.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/17/aiyana-jones-7-year-old-s_n_578246.html
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Re: AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

Post by twinkletoes on Sun Oct 26, 2014 7:01 am

Case of cop who shot girl, 7, dead while she slept on grandmother's couch is declared a mistrial as victim's supporters blame lack of black jurors

  • Joseph Weekley charged with involuntary manslaughter in death of Aiyana Jones after he was 'grossly negligent' with handling gun during a raid
  • Claims pulled gun trigger accidentally during scuffle with her grandmother

  • 2010 raid was being filmed for reality TV show 'The First 48 Hours'


By Associated Press and Daily Mail Reporter
Published: 12:48 EST, 19 June 2013  |  Updated: 14:54 EST, 19 June 2013





A judge has declared a mistrial after jurors failed to reach a verdict for a police officer who shot dead a young girl during a chaotic search for a murder suspect that was recorded by a reality TV crew.


Loud voices could be heard in the jury room in Wayne County, Michigan a few hours before jurors threw in the towel in the case of Joseph Weekley on Tuesday and were dismissed.


They sent three notes, the last one indicating they still couldn't reach a unanimous verdict on the third day of deliberations, despite encouragement from Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway.


But supporters of the seven-year-old victim, Aiyana Jones, said they believe the jury was unable to reach a decision due to race.


Mistrial: The case of Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley has been declared a mistrial after the jury were unable to reach a verdict. Weekley is accused of involuntary manslaughter

Roland Lawrence of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee explained only one juror was African American and that he had 'no confidence in this jury' once he realized the racial disparity.


Weekley, a member of an elite police squad, was charged with involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana, who was shot in the head in May 2010 while sleeping on her grandmother's couch.



He was accused of being 'grossly negligent' in how he handled his submachine gun as his black-clad, masked and armed unit stormed the Detroit home to capture a suspect in May 2010.


Police threw a stun grenade through a window, and Weekley was the first officer through the door.


Weekley told jurors that he accidentally pulled the trigger during a struggle with the girl's grandmother, but Mertilla Jones denied interfering with the gun.




Loss: Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, was shot dead when the officer's gun accidentally fired during a raid


Missed: Her grandmother Mertilla Jones sobbed as she testified in the trial last week

The hunt for a murder suspect was being recorded by a crew from 'The First 48,' a police show on A&E Networks. Some video shot from the sidewalk was part of the evidence.


The jury could have convicted Weekley of involuntary manslaughter, a felony, or reckless discharge of a firearm, a misdemeanor. He also could have been cleared of all charges.

Frustration: Judge Cynthia Hathaway had encouraged jurors to reach a unanimous decision

'This is a bittersweet outcome: Bitter because Weekley was not convicted, and sweet in that justice for Aiyana Jones will come soon,' said Roland Lawrence.


A pretrial conference to schedule a new set of hearings and a near jury selection is set for 9am July 25. If convicted, Weekley could face up to 15 years behind bars.


Aiyana was sleeping on one end of the couch, and her grandmother Mertilla Jones was on the other in May 2010 when an armed, black-clad and masked police officers stormed the apartment.


Armed with an MP5 submachine gun and behind a shield, Weekley had been tasked with being first into the home in search of murder suspect, Chauncey Owens.


Last week, a neighbor testified that he tried to tell officers before they raided the home that children were inside. Under cross-examination Monday, Jones said the officers were negligent.


'They knew there were children in there. So why would they come in there like that? They came to kill, and they killed a 7-year-old.'


Davis, the officer who tossed the stun grenade, said the team was unaware children were inside.


When asked by prosecutors if knowing children were in the house would have forced police to change raid tactics, Davis responded: 'Probably not.'




The apartment: Police entered the home on the bottom-level where Jones and her granddaughter were. Their actual target lived in the apartment above

It was Owens they were after. Two days before the raid 17-year-old Je'rean Blake was standing outside a neighborhood convenience store when he was shot to death following a dispute.


Mertilla Jones testified that Owens lived in the upper unit with her daughter, LaKrystal Sanders. Police found Owens in the upstairs flat and he was arrested.


Owens pleaded guilty in April 2011 to second-degree murder and was sentenced to 28 years in prison for Blake's slaying.


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Re: AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

Post by twinkletoes on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:25 am

AIYANA’S GRANDMOTHER CONFRONTS KILLER COP FROM WITNESS STAND; WEEKLY RE-TRIAL SUSPENDED →
DID POLICE TAMPER WITH KEY EVIDENCE IN KILLING OF AIYANA JONES, 7, TO BACK UP KILLER COP WEEKLEY?

Posted on 09/24/2014 by Diane Bukowski

Video above by Silo Sh3llz “RIP Aiyana Jones”
NOTE: VOD WILL HAVE STORY UP LATER TODAY ON EVENTS IN THE COURTROOM SEPT. 24.

Mertilla Jones (l) weeps in agony at candlelight vigil for Aiyana shortly after her death; Aiyana’s mother Dominika and father Charles are at right.

Aiyana’s grandmother Mertilla Jones broke down weeping  uncontrollably on the stand Sept 24 and repeatedly asked Weekley WHY he had killed her granddaughter and then lied about her trying to get his gun.

 She was escorted from the courtroom, and continued directly accusing him as she passed. Numerous relatives seated in the court also began weeping uncontrollably, including a young man who was sobbing and hyperventilating in the hallway outside. After Aiyana’s mother and aunt asked to speak to her to calm her down, Ms. Jones came into the hallway and slid to the floor while Dominika Jones and LaKrystal Sanders consoled her, crying as well. At least six family members in the hallway surrounded her, some weeping as well, for a lengthy time before court officers escorted them outside so Ms. Jones could get some fresh air. Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, who earlier threatened witnesses with arrest after LaKrystal Sanders similarly broke down prior to Mertilla Jones’ testimony, halted the trial for the rest of the week.

SRT officer says he found shell casing from fatal bullet by front doorway
Evidence techs photographed it in middle of room two hours later
Firearms expert: MP-5 gun could not have gone off accidentally
Police testimony replete with military jargon
 
September 23, 2014

 By Diane Bukowski

Charles and Dominika Jones (l), parents of Aiyana Jones (r)
Photo: Facebook

DETROIT – Police testimony in the trial of Officer Joseph Weekley this week for killing Aiyana Jones exposed a glaring contradiction regarding the spent casing from the bullet that killed the 7-year-old child during the military-style assault on her home May 15, 2010.

Sgt. Brian Bowens, part of the “Special Response Team” involved, testified Sept. 22 that he saw the casing directly inside the front doorway when he entered just after two officers rushed the little girl out of the house to St. John’s Hospital. She had been shot “within seconds” after the team broke into her home in the middle of the night according to other testimony.

“It [the casing] was on the floor between the couch [where Aiyana was shot] and the door extending out,” Bowens said. “It was very tight confines. As soon as you walked in, there was a couch directly to your left and another to your right. There was blood on the couch to the left of the door.”

Asst. Prosecutor Mark Hindelang displayed Bowen’s diagram of the scene to the jury, with the casing inside the front doorway circled in red, and Bowens’ initials next to it.

Police evidence photo of couch on which Aiyana Jones was shot by Police officer Joseph Weekley.

Bowens said when he entered the room, four people including murder suspect Chauncey Owens were sitting on the bloody couch where Aiyana had been shot, under police guard. Aiyana’s mother Dominika Stanley-Jones earlier testified that police had ordered herself, Aiyana’s father and grandmother, and Owens to sit there. Bowens said the only people moving about were police officers.

 Owens had just come down from the upper flat where he lived, under police guard. Thus, Owens’ entrance into the lower flat moments after the shooting apparently had not dislocated the casing.

However, a police evidence technician who processed the scene about two hours after the shooting testified today that he found both the spent casing and bullet in front of the couch on its far side near where Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, had been sleeping.

Artist depiction of Aiyana’s shooting, presented by family attorney Geoffrey Fieger shortly after her death and a second autopsy which showed gunshot wound at top of forehead, exiting through neck.

The prosecution showed an evidence technician’s photograph of the bullet and casing with two yellow crime scene markers next to them at that location.

Weekley’s defense attorney Steve Fishman contended in his opening statement and during cross-examinations of several witnesses that Weekley’s gun went off because an individual [Aiyana's paternal grandmother Mertilla Jones] “interfered” with Weekley, perhaps grabbing his gun. Mertilla Jones had been sleeping with Aiyana on the front couch, on its left-hand side near where the casing was shown in the evidence technician photograph.

Did officers move the bullet casing to that location before the evidence technicians arrived on the scene, to back up Weekley’s story? Many supporters of the family have contended that not only Weekley, but the SRT, and the whole chain of command over them, should have been charged with murder in Aiyana’s death. Only Weekley faces a charge of “involuntary manslaughter.”

Fieger press conference after raid: Mertilla Jones and aunt LaKrystal Sanders . AP photo by Carlos Osorio

Jones is possibly expected to testify Sept. 24, in the face of Fishman’s blistering opening statement during which he repeatedly called her a “liar” for saying Weekley deliberately “murdered” Aiyana, and added that two of her sons are in prison. Asst. Prosecutors Moran and Hindelang offered no objection during his statement.

 “I figured what all of them came to do was murder,” Jones testified during Weekley’s first trial. “From the way they came in, and they knew there were children in the house, they came to kill, and they just killed a 7-year-old. I saw the officer come in, put the gun to Aiyana’s head, and just shoot. . . . The gun was placed right there at Aiyana’s head, and they pulled the trigger. I saw the light leave out of her eyes, and blood gushed out of her mouth. I knew she was dead.”

Denessa, April and Martin Westbrook described similar circumstances in a 2007 lawsuit they filed against Weekley and other SRT members in federal court.

“Defendants entered the home and did not knock or announce their presence,” their lawsuit said. “Immediately upon barging into the home, Defendants had their guns blazing and they began shooting. There were children and an infant present in the home. Without any justifiable reason whatsoever, Defendants shot Plaintiffs’ two dogs, while a child was in the same room as the dog. Defendants wrongfully detained Plaintiffs for nearly an hour. Defendants had their guns pointed at Plaintiffs and the child and infant.”

Brent Sojea, weapons expert, demonstrates MP5 semi-automatic machine gun which killed Aiyana during Weekley’s earlier trial. He testified Sept. 23 again that the gun could not have fired accidentally.

The Westbrook lawsuit for “unconstitutional entry, search, detention and destruction of property” was settled for $27,000 according to Detroit City Council records.

Regarding Fishman’s contention that Weekley did not deliberately fire his gun, firearms and tool markings expert Brent Sojea testified today that was not possible, while other SRT officers testified that they are trained to keep their fingers away from a gun’s trigger even during “firearms retention” if someone tries to seize their weapon.

Sojea confirmed that Weekley’s gun fired the bullet and casing that killed Aiyana, the only ammunition in the room.

Holding Weekley’s Heckler and Koch MP5 submachine gun, Sojea said it could be fired as a semi-automatic or in automatic mode, during which it would fire 800 rounds a minute. He said he tested the gun in numerous ways to see if it could fire without pressing the trigger.

“I tested it by dropping it and banging it on its side, muzzle and butt from different heights onto a rubber mat,” Sojea said. “I used a six-plane safety test, in which I banged on it with a mallet on all sides. It would not fire.”

Sojea said tests showed that the gun required eight to nine pounds of pressure to pull the trigger.

Still from A&E video of SRT team breaking into Jones home May 16, 2010.

The prosecution also showed evidence technician photographs of the scene and the A&E “First 48″ film of the actual raid, from a distance. Another video, likely by police, which showed the raid closer up, has not been introduced by the prosecution.

Several photographs showed brightly colored children’s toys on both sides of the two-family flat’s entrance steps, and on the porch near the entrance to the Jones’ family’s door. But all SRT officers who testified said they saw no evidence of the presence of children, including toys, during the raid. One officer testified all he saw during daytime surveillance was “a mess of people.”

Charles Jones is interviewed by Channel 2 reporter Amy Lange the morning of his daughter’s death on family’s porch. Toys shown are also in evidence tech photos of the scene directly after the raid.

Dominika and Charles Jones’ five children, including Aiyana and several toddlers, were staying at the home, rented by Mertilla Jones, during the period of surveillance.

 Surveillance officers also testified that they radioed a “take-down” crew when one saw Chauncey Owens exiting the downstairs flat and walking up Lillibridge eastbound to E. Canfield. That crew was supposed to apprehend Owens if he was seen outside the house, but surveillance officers claimed the take-down crew did not have enough time to get to him before he returned.

VOD walked the distance from the Lillibridge location to E. Canfield and back, which took approximately four minutes. The take-down crews were waiting only a short distance away from the scene. Many have said police were waiting to set up a dramatic night-time raid for the benefit of crews from A&E’s “First 48″ series. Weekley and other officers from the SRT team are featured as stars on A&E’s website for “Detroit SWAT,” the predecessor to “The First 48.”

Particularly striking during testimony by several SRT officers yesterday and today was their use of military terms during their descriptions of events.

Officer Joseph Weekley shown as star “Brain” on Detroit SWAT website.

They referred to the black uniforms worn by SRT members as “BDU’s” or battle dress uniforms, to the planned raid as a “mission,” and to the Jones home as a “target.” One SRT officer said he was familiar with the tactics because he had served nine years in the U.S. military.

 The “First 48” film crew tailing the SRT team during the raid was referred to as “embedded,” a term first coined to describe media crews operating with U.S. forces during various wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

According to earlier published reports on the three days of jury selection, a large number of potential jurors were screened out after Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, the prosecution and defense read over questionnaires they had filled out. The potential jurors were asked if they had heard about the police killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and whether they had read articles about the increasing militarization of U.S. police forces.

The second day of jury selection was dominated largely by the same questions asked personally during voir dire. By the third day, enough jurors had been screened out that “voir dire” focused largely on regular questions regarding their backgrounds and willingness to be fair.

The sitting jury is now comprised of three Black women, two Black men, one woman who appears to be from India, one woman who appears to be Arab, and seven white individuals. The jury in Weekley’s original trial had only one Black member.

One attorney indirectly associated with the case, however, told VOD, “Moran threw the first trial, and it is a conflict of interest for him to prosecute both Weekley and Aiyana’s father Charles Jones, along with Chauncey Owens, for the killing of Jerean Blake.”

Blake was shot to death May 14, 2010, a crime for which both Jones and Owens were convicted, but they are appealing their cases.
On Sept. 18, Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Richard Skutt denied Jones’ motion for either a directed verdict or a new trial, based on his jury’s contradictory verdict finding him guilty of second-degree murder while acquitting him of the gun charges that were the base for the murder charge. His attorneys said they plan to appeal. (VOD story to come on this.)


http://voiceofdetroit.net/2014/09/24/did-police-tamper-with-key-evidence-in-killing-of-aiyana-jones-7-to-back-up-killer-cop-weekley/#sthash.IdK6hP6Z.dpuf
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Re: AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

Post by twinkletoes on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:30 am

Another Mistrial In Case Of Officer Who Shot Sleeping 7-Year-Old To Death  

The Huffington Post
By Kate Abbey-Lambertz


Posted:  10/10/2014 2:39 pm EDT    Updated:  10/10/2014 3:59 pm EDT


A mistrial has been declared in the trial of the Detroit police officer who shot a sleeping 7-year-old to death.

The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office said that Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway declared a mistrial Friday after the jury deadlocked. Jurors had been deliberating over a misdemeanor charge for Officer Joseph Weekley, who killed Aiyana Stanley-Jones during a botched 2010 police raid.

"No matter the outcome of any jury's decision, I have already been devastated and my life has been ruined irreparably by the events that occurred on May 16, 2010," Weekley said in a statement, according to the Detroit News.

"No parent ever deserves to lose a child, regardless of the circumstances," he also said. "I know in my heart and before God that what transpired that day was out of my control, but I will still have terrible grief weigh upon me every day for the rest of my life."

The jury began deliberating Tuesday on the charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing death, which carries a sentence of up to two years in prison. Jurors would later tell the court they were having difficulty reaching a decision.

Weekley went into the trial last month charged additionally with a count of involuntary manslaughter, which carries a 15-year maximum prison sentence. The judge dismissed the charge during the trial after a motion by the defense, citing a lack of evidence.

Roland Lawrence, chairman of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee, said in a statement Friday that the trial was both a "travesty and a comedy."

"This trial is a travesty because the judicial system allowed the death of a child by a well-trained police agency to go unpunished," he said. "It is comedy because the people of [southeast] Michigan actually think that Aiyana's family is responsible for Aiyana's death."

Shortly after midnight on May 16, 2010, Weekley entered the Stanley-Jones home. He was the first through the door as part of the Detroit Special Response Team's search for a murder suspect. As a crew filmed for an A&E reality series about murder investigations, another officer is said to have thrown a flash-bang grenade, allegedly making it difficult for Weekley to see. Weekley then fired the shot that killed Aiyana, who was sleeping on the couch with her grandmother, Mertilla Jones.

In court, Weekley maintained that Jones struck his gun, which caused him to shoot. Jones, a primary witness in the trial, denied doing so or being close to Weekley. The prosecution argued that Weekley shouldn't have had his finger on the trigger of his gun, per his professional training.

"The only evidence that points to any kind of knowingly creating a danger or intending to cause injury, the only testimony is that of Mertilla Jones, which is by its nature and by comparison to the other testimony, including the medical examiner, is completely and totally unbelievable," Weekley's lawyer, Steve Fishman, told the judge last week.

The shooting of the black child by a white officer, who continues to work on the Detroit police force, has caused some to draw parallels to other cases of police shootings and to criticize the justice system's handling of cases involving police officers and black victims.

Several weeks before Weekley's latest trial began, a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, shot unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown, sparking mass protests, a heightened police response and nationwide conversations about institutional racism in police forces across the country. Before Weekley's trial began, potential jurors were asked questions about the Ferguson shooting and police militarization and whether their thoughts might influence their decision in the case.

Last year, Mertilla Jones drew a connection between her granddaughter's death and that of black teen Trayvon Martin, who was unarmed when he was shot by neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in Florida. She spoke during a rally after Zimmerman was acquitted.

"I'm out here to fight any way for the other Aiyanas that's to come," she said, "because it ain't stop at just my grandbaby."

Weekley was tried last year for involuntary manslaughter in Aiyana's death, but the first jury also failed to come to a decision. The next court date in the case has been set for Nov. 21.


http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/10/10/joseph-weekley-mistrial-verdict_n_5965362.html
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Re: AIYANA JONES - 7 yo (5/10) - Shooter: Policeman, Joseph Weekley - Detroil, MI

Post by twinkletoes on Mon Oct 27, 2014 2:33 am

This is a travesty.  If this little girl had been white this macho cop would have been convicted years ago.

He hasn't even been charged with perjury although the evidence and video clearly prove he is guilty of perjury (as well as manslaughter).  IMO.
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