Sunday, October 16, 2011

Cop indicted for killing of Detroit child

By Abayomi Azikiwe
Editor, Pan-African News Wire
Published Oct 14, 2011 10:28 PM

Aiyana Stanley Jones, a 7-year-old African-American girl, was shot to death during a police raid on a home on Detroit’s east side on May 16, 2010. The killing sparked outrage throughout the city of Detroit and around the country.

Some 16 months after the shooting and a subsequent Michigan State Police investigation, Detroit County Prosecutor Kim Worthy charged police officer Joseph Weekley with involuntary manslaughter in Jones’ death. Also charged in the incident is Allison Howard of Boston, who was working as a photographer with “The First 48,” a reality television program which was filming the raid for airing. She faces trial on charges of perjury and obstructing government justice, as the prosecution alleges she showed a video of the raid to “third parties.”

The police said they were raiding the downstairs apartment where Jones was sleeping with her grandmother as part of an investigation into the shooting death of 17-year-old Je’Rean Blake, who was killed two days earlier in the same neighborhood.

Aiyana Jones’ father, Charles Jones, was recently charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Blake. Chauncey Owens was arrested on the same morning that the child was killed. He was in the apartment upstairs from the site of the killing.

Roland Lawrence, aka Fige Bornu, chairperson of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee, issued a press release in response to Weekley and Howard’s indictments, which said, “The Aiyana Jones tragedy is a pathetic and heinous symbol of ‘police gone wild,’ and must be held as an end all on how police agencies interact with poor communities of color.

“The Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee seeks to make sure that Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, is afforded a fair and balanced trial, including a mandate that his peer group demographic is represented on his jury.”

Detroit police have a long history of inflicting brutality and terror upon the overwhelmingly majority African-American community. Despite the fact that the Detroit Police Department since 2003 has been under two U.S. Justice Department consent decrees mandating changes in the use of lethal force and conditions in city lockups, the same brutal behavior that resulted in the community outrage that led to the federal intervention, remains to this day.

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