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The jury has been seated in the trial of Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley, who fatally shot a 7-year-old girl sleeping on a sofa during a SWAT raid that was being filmed as part of a reality television show, “The First 48.”
The murder happened on May 16th, 2010. Aiyana Stanley-Jones was sleeping when law enforcement stormed into the house where she lived, looking for Chauncey Owens, a murder suspect who was later convicted. Owens lived in the upstairs unit, but police stormed into both when they entered the house. Aiyana’a father has been changed in the same murder, as he allegedly provided the shooter with the weapon. The crimes of the father, however, do not excuse the murder of the daughter.
Potential jurors were asked about the shooting of Michael Brown and told the shootings were unrelated. They are not allowed to consider that there could be institutionalized bias that allows or prompts officers to open fire more readily when their targets have darker skin.
Officer Weekley’s defense isn’t that he didn’t shoot Aiyana; he admits that (now). Instead, he claims that Aiyana’s grandma woke up and her arm/hand hit his gun, jostling him and making the gun go off. The grandma insists that she did not. In fact, she initially thought the bullet that killed her granddaughter had come from outside the house. Defense attorneys have used the fact that her memory of the event is hazy as a means to discredit her, and it has been working. The previous trial resulted in a hung jury.
For previous Ladybud coverage of police shootings, click here.
Photo Credit: The Jones family