Aiyana Stanley Jones (c. 2003-2010) was a seven-year-old girl shot dead by the Detroit police in a military-style raid on her home in the middle of the night. This was at 4054 Lillibridge in east Detroit at 12:40 am on Sunday May 16th 2010. The police were looking for a murder suspect, who it seems they later found in the upstairs flat of the house.
Her father said he put her to bed on his mother’s couch, covering her with her favourite blanket and then went to bed. The next thing he knows there is a loud bang and then a gun shot. He ran to the living room to protect his daughter. She was on fire. Before he could reach her the police stopped him and made him lay down on the floor, face down in his daughter’s blood.
Her grandmother was in the living room when the flash grenade came through the window and hit Aiyana. It went off with a big flash and a bang. Aiyana caught on fire; the police burst in and the grandmother threw herself across Aiyana. Then:
They blew my granddaughter’s brains out. They killed her right before my eyes. I watched the light go out of her eyes. I seen it.
The police say that the grandmother either bumped them or put up a fight which made their gun go off, shooting the girl in the neck or the head. As if we are supposed to believe the police have guns that go off by accident.
People on the street said 20 policemen showed up for the raid and in spite of toys in front of the house and people shouting that there were children inside, the police proceeded with their raid.
A&E, the television channel, has been following the Detroit police for months for their show “The First 48” about the first 48 hours of murder cases. They had at least two cameramen there filming. It was worse than even the family knew: after the policeman threw the grenade through the window he fired his gun into the house, shooting on unarmed men, women and children! Their little story blaming the grandmother was a lie.
Throwing a flash grenade into a house full of people in the middle of the night to storm it with guns drawn to take someone is the kind of thing American soldiers did in Iraq against a military enemy. And now the Detroit police apparently thinks it is all right to use on black people too.
Drive a half hour east of Aiyana’s house and you are in Grosse Pointe Park, an upper-middle-class suburb that is 93% white. Somehow I find it hard to imagine the police doing this stuff to the good white people there in their nice houses.
This is more than a tragedy, this is more than a “mistake” – how many times have we heard that! No, someone gave the orders to do it this way with complete disregard for innocent lives.
R.I.P., Aiyana. I know you are with the angels.
– Abagond, 2010.
Update (2015): Unlike many such cases, this went to trial, but after two hung juries, in 2013 and 2014, charges were dropped in 2015 against Officer Joseph Weekly, in the “interest of justice”.