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10 Years Ago, Detroit Police Shot and Killed This 7-Year Old Girl While She Was Sleeping

Aiyana Mo'Nay Stanley-Jones, 7-year old Black girl killed by Detroit Police

In May 2010, Aiyana Stanley-Jones, a 7-year old girl from Detroit, was shot in the head and subsequently killed by Detroit Police as they raided her home after midnight looking for a suspect. The problem though is that police had raided the wrong house.
Local police were searching for a suspect named Chauncey Owens, who has allegedly been involved in a deadly shooting earlier that week. They had obtained a warrant to search where he was believed to be hiding. In an attempt to distract the occupants, police fired a flash grenade through the front window. One of the officers, Officer Joseph Weekley, claimed that the flash grenade blinded his view and he ended up firing his weapon at the person on the couch in the living room. That person was an innocent African American named Aiyana who was innocently sleeping.

The case had a series of lawsuits. First, there was a civil rights lawsuit that questioned Officer Weekly's account of the incident. The lawsuit was filed against him and another officer, Officer Rowe, for the unlawful use of excessive force.

A second lawsuit charged the Detroit Police Department and unnamed supervisors of the Special Response Team for violating their training and policy procedures.

In October 2011, Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter and reckless endangerment with a gun. However, during a new trial, the judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge against him, leaving him on trial for only one charge: recklessly discharging a firearm.

In January 2015, a prosecutor cleared Weekley of the last remaining charge against him, ensuring there would not be a third trial. Later, Weekley was rehired to active duty as a Detroit police officer.

Aiyana's death drew national media attention and led U.S. Representative John Conyers to ask U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder for a federal investigation into the incident. No such federal investigation ever occurred.

Naturally, Aiyana's family was extremely disappointed. Her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, told reporters: "Accountability needs to be expected from cases like this because cops can't keep killing people and getting away with it."