Child Killer With A Badge Moves On; Aiyana’s Family, Not So Much
July 27, 2016 (Fault Lines) — If it had been a little white child who was killed by a police officer’s MP5 sub-machine gun during a botched raid as she slept on the couch with her grandmother watching television, it would have been all over the news on every network.
It was a little seven-year-old girl named Aiyana Mo’nay Stanley Jones, a black girl living on the east side of Detroit. This happened in 2010 and, allowing for the fact that we live in the United States of Amnesia, it is somewhat excusable for people to forget such a thing. We do live in an era of media overload. Then again, it’s easier to forget when it was never brought to your attention in the first place, or mentioned so slightly that it didn’t even register.
Let’s try not to forget.
This week, the cop who shot Aiyana got his job back. In 2010, officer Joseph Weekly, ironically nicknamed “brain” by his co-workers because he was “always thinking,” was a member of the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team, about to serve a warrant for an individual who lived in the unit above where Aiyana slept. Tagging along was a film crew from the heavily edited, pure cop propaganda series “The First 48,” featured on A&E. Weekly was familiar with the spotlight, having been involved with another show called “Detroit SWAT.”
It seems when cops come across individuals with cameras, it’s good cause to arrest them because their safety might be compromised. But when a whole film crew is dedicated to making them look like heroes, it’s perfectly fine to have them so close that if they made a sudden stop the crew would fly right up their asses.
What happened next is in dispute. But some things are not:
Someone tossed a flash-bang grenade through the window as Weekly approached.
The cops did not knock.
They kicked-in an unlocked door.
Weekly shot a seven-year-old sleeping child in the head.
The cops were in the wrong unit.
The cops did manage to find the right unit and arrest the guy they were looking for.
The cops then tried to blame it on the grandmother, saying she grabbed the Weekly’s gun, in other words; the old black woman did it.
The cops changed their story.
Weekly got his job back.
In fact, Weekly might actually get his gun back too. Detroit Police Chief James Craig said Weekly will be returning to the force as part of the department’s “integration program,” whatever that is. A search of their website doesn’t make it readily apparent; maybe you can find it.
Chief Craig is leaving the door open for Weekly to return to the field, saying:
It’s tragic what happened to Aiyana, it’s tragic. Sometimes, we’re in a high-risk occupation, mistakes happen, and sometimes those mistakes result in tragedies, but we move on from that.
Weekly was tried twice on charges of involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm, the result of a yearlong investigation by the Michigan State Police; one ended in a mistrial, the other, on the lesser charge after the judge dismissed the involuntary manslaughter charge, resulted in a hung jury. The charges were then dismissed.
(O)ver the last decade or so, the cable dial has been stuffed full of programming that serves to make us more comfortable with police units that treat neighborhoods like battlefields. It should be of no surprise then, when we learn of SWAT raids not just for low-level drug crimes, but also for zoning violations or underage drinking, or that there are now police departments in America that serve every felony search warrant with a SWAT team, regardless of the crime.
The cop gets to move-on, but not Aiyana or her family. Please don’t forget that.