Jun 10, 2013
The trial of a Detroit cop, Joseph Weekley, in the death of a 7-year-old black girl named Aiyana Jones, is currently underway.
Though it is impossible to predict at this time what the outcome will be, Weekley happens to be the cop who fired the particular bullet that killed Aiyana and he is facing the lightest charges possible for her killing, involuntary manslaughter and reckless discharge of a firearm.
But he is hardly the only one responsible for Aiyana’s death. Aiyana was killed when police raided her grandmother’s home looking for a suspect in the killing of a man outside a nearby convenience store. The cops came with a cable TV crew in tow filming video for the cable TV reality cop show The First 48.
Everyone who made a series of decisions, all to create dramatic effect for the cameras, from Weekley’s police commanders to the show’s producers, are equally guilty in the girl’s death.
They chose to carry out the raid after midnight, when everyone would be home and asleep. They knew there could be children present, since they had been there before. They knew Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, had lived there a long time and has eight children and 22 grandchildren, who visit her often.
They decided the cops should toss a flash-bang grenade into the home, the sole purpose of which was to disorient those inside, creating the chaos that led to the shooting. The cops, dressed in full SWAT team regalia, even busted in the door, despite the fact the door was unlocked. The cops could be seen in the video footage mugging for the cameras. One of them was heard making a racist joke about the suspect.
All those in charge of this cop drama gone awry should be charged with the murder of Aiyana Jones.
Police brutality and shootings of black people happen all the time, and rarely get this much attention. If this killing seems more gross, it’s because it was a 7-year-old who was killed. When it’s someone older, the police have an easier time sweeping it under the rug.
It is why there is a feeling in the population of the city that this was one too many – precisely because it’s not an isolated incident. Those feelings could be the basis for a new social movement, which is the only way to force the police to stop their deadly racist practices.