After four years, the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the seven-year-old girl who was shot in the head by a Detroit police officer during a botched raid, never expected to read these words from the Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy: We will move to dismiss the case.
But that’s what they heard in the following statement from Worthy:
“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 charged, 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.”
And so, another Black family is left devastated, having lost a child at the hands of white law enforcement for no good reason, and the officer suffering no consequences.
Weekley, 38, was indicted and twice tried in court for the little girl’s death, only to have the juries unable to reach a verdict. Judge Hathaway’s decision to dismiss the felony manslaughter charge was astonishing because the other judges who sat over the case refused the defense lawyer’s request for dismissals.
Weekley shot and killed the child with an MP5 submachine gun as she slept on the couch with her grandmother. The cops were searching for a murder suspect and burst into the Jones’ home.
At trial, Weekley insisted he was not aware his gun had fired or had hit Aiyana in the head as she slept beneath a “Hanna Montana” blanket. Weekley claimed the grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed for his gun, causing him to pull the trigger.
Jones denies this account and said she only reached for her grandbaby when the flash grenade crashed through their window.
Prosecutors maintain that the officer was negligent and reckless and didn’t follow proper protocol in the May 16, 2010 operation.
They contend that Weekley, who is part of the “elite” special response team, broke protocol in shooting little Aiyana, and officers from his unit testified to this in court that an officer’s finger is not supposed to be on the trigger of your gun unless you have identified and intend to fire at your target.