Detroit, MI – Seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed May 16, 2010 during a Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team nighttime raid of a duplex during which they were searching for murder suspect Chauncey Owens.
The girl was shot and killed by an officer, who is now subject to an involuntary manslaughter trail following a federal investigation into Aiyana’s death.
According to various reports, police were on the scene by 12:40 am on Sunday, May 16, 2010. In an attempt to distract the occupants within the residence, police fired a flash grenade through the front window of the bottom floor, where Aiyana and her grandmother slept. Both suffered injuries from the incendiary device.
Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, took the stand Monday and testified as to what she witnessed during the ordeal. The 50-year-old heaved and sobbed about how her granddaughter bled out from a gunshot wound to the head. “I seen the light leave out of her eyes and the blood started gushing out her mouth and she was dead,” quotes the Huffington Post.
As black-clad police stormed the front door, veteran Officer Joseph Weekley, a member of Detroit’s SWAT team, allegedly fired a shot which fatally struck Aiyana in the head and neck area.
Mertilla said there were only seconds between the police entering the house and the shot being fired. Aiyana’s head was propped against the armrest of the couch as she slept and that Weekley was holding the gun right next to the armrest when his weapon discharged.
Police escorted Aiyana to St. John Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
Weekley was put on administrative leave pending an investigation of the incident. Since the raid, the family has filed two lawsuits. The suits accuse the DPD of civil rights violations, gross negligence, false arrest and conspiracy to cover up what actually took place at 5044 Lillibridge Street, by attempting to implicate Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, in the event.
Mertilla was arrested during the raid and held by police for 12 hours. She was later transferred to the city’s receiving hospital and tested for drugs and gunpowder residue. Officers initially claimed the grandmother’s interference with police caused the child’s death, though according to Mertilla she remained on the floor during the sweep of the home.
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