A Detroit police detective is set to stand trial for a second time for killing a 7-year-old girl during a 2010 raid on her house.
The raid was captured on video by a reality TV crew.
Nobody alleges that Officer Joseph Weekley intended to kill Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who had been sleeping on a couch near the front door when officers burst through around midnight in search of a murder suspect. But prosecutors charged him with involuntary manslaughter because they believe he handled his submachine gun recklessly, causing the girl’s death.
Jury selection starts Monday in Wayne County court, 15 months after Weekley’s first trial ended with jurors unable to agree on a verdict.
Weekley was a member of Detroit’s Special Response Team, which was sent to an east side neighborhood to capture a suspect in the killing of a teenager outside a convenience store.
Police threw a stun grenade through a window, emitting smoke, bright light and vibrations to confuse anyone inside. Weekley was first through the door, with a shield in one hand and a gun in the other. He claims he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his gun. She denies that she interfered in any way.
The raid was recorded for a police reality TV show, “The First 48,” but there was no footage from inside the house. The target, Chauncey Owens, eventually was arrested and convicted of killing a 17-year-old boy.
During Weekley’s first trial, fellow officer Shawn Stallard testified that he did not see anyone struggle with Weekley. He also said that Detroit police are specially trained to push away anyone who tries to grab an officer’s gun or to move the weapon in a “J” shape to keep control of it.
Weekley expressed remorse for his actions telling jurors, I just feel devastated and depressed. I’ll never be the same, no.”
Jurors told the judge they could not reach a verdict on the third day of deliberations.
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