Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Possible Warrant in Shooting Death of 7 Year Old

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Mar 13, 2011 9:55 PM

Aiyana Stanley Jones, 7, was killed early in the morning last May 16 on Detroit’s East Side. A Police Special Response Unit tossed an incendiary device through a front window of her house, then kicked in the door and fired a bullet into the second grader’s head. Her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, was taken from the scene of the killing and held in police custody for 12 hours. The police were searching for a reason to detain her.

Due to the outcry over the killing, Michigan State Police took up the criminal investigation of the case and released its findings on March 3. Their recommendation was for a criminal warrant against one person involved in the shooting.

The only weapon that was fired at the Jones’ family’s home was that of police officer Joseph Weekly, who has been put on paid leave. However, the state police did not name the individual in its recommendation for indictment. Moreover, it is still up to Wayne County Prosecutor Kim Worthy to determine what charges, if any, will be filed against Weekly.

At a March 4 press conference, members of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, Mertilla Jones and LaKrystal Sanders, Aiyana Jones’ aunt, asserted that more people should be indicted in the killing of their loved one. Mertilla Jones said that she has not been able to sleep, has lost 50 pounds and has suffered a mild stroke since her granddaughter’s death.

A statement issued by Ron Scott, DCAPB spokesperson, noted, “While it is important to charge someone in this case, we want to make it clear that the decision to allow only one individual to be offered up as a singular scapegoat does not address the militaristic activities which occurred last May.”

This statement continued, “The Coalition asked then and asks now: Who hatched the plan for this assault? Who gave the order to throw the grenade? Who agreed to allow the television show ‘First 48’ to tag along in such a sensitive case? Our question: How far up the command chain will the indictments go? This is a question of protocol and program, not one person.”

Scott also promised demonstrations in the next few weeks over the Board of Police Commissioners’ failure to take action against all the officers responsible for killing Aiyana.

Aiyana Jones’ family has filed a multimillion-dollar wrongful death lawsuit against the Detroit police and the A&E cable television network, which films "First 48."

Over the last eight years, the Detroit Police Department has been under two federal consent decrees that supposedly mandated major reforms related to the use of lethal force and conditions existing inside the lock-ups. Yet, through successive city and federal administrations, police brutality and the killing of civilians has continued.

Detroit is the city hardest hit by the economic crisis and the overall restructuring of the world capitalist system. The escalation in police repression is the state’s only consistent response to the worsening economic conditions of high unemployment and increasing poverty.
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