Inquiry sought in sleeping 7-year-old’s shooting by police

An outside investigation is being sought in the early Sunday morning death of 7-year-old Detroit girl Aiyana Jones, shot by police as she slept in her home.

Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy called for an inquiry into the incident by Michigan State Police after Jones was killed in an early morning raid on her Lillibridge home. Worthy said:

“On Sunday, I was approached by the Detroit Police Department about having an outside agency investigate the fatal shooting death of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones,” Worthy said in a statement today. “I agree that it is most appropriate that this be done independently. I have contacted the Michigan State Police and they have consented to investigate this matter. The Detroit Police Department will cooperate fully with the investigation.”

One aspect of the incident that may prove to be pivotal is the use of a flash-bang grenade- a tool used by police teams in serious negotiations, such as those with a “barricaded gunman.” Detroit Police spokesman John Roach has also confirmed that a film crew from A&E show The First 48 was present with the police department’s special response team, filming during the incident. (A&E has declined comment on the tragedy.)

Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee made a statement about the incident Sunday, promising that the incident would be fully investigated:

“This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her,” Godbee said. “We cannot undo what occurred this morning. All we can do is to pledge an open and full investigation, and to support Aiyana’s family in whatever way.”

“We have executed countless high-risk warrants where children have been present,” Godbee said. “This was a perfect storm for tragedy.

The Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality’s Ron Scott spoke to the Detroit Free Press about the use of the flash-bang grenade, a decision he calls “highly unusual” in that context:

“We’ve never heard of this happening,” Scott said of using a stun grenade to make a homicide arrest. “I think there needs to be some serious look at policy in relation to how this situation happened.”

Scott also insinuated that the presence of a film crew may have endangered both civilians and police during the controversial incident.