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Detroit Police Kill Seven-Year-Old Girl
May 16, 2010 permalink
Detroit police raided a home and killed seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones. They have not yet decided whether she was killed by a flash bang incendiary device or a gunshot.
Detroit girl, 7, shot and killed by police
Officers were executing search warrant for homicide suspect
Squatting on the stoop outside his Detroit home Sunday afternoon, the father of the 7-year-old girl killed earlier that day gazed at photos of his only daughter at her sixth birthday party.
“She had a lively, free spirit,” Charles Jones murmured.
He then bent over, burying his face in his hands as he wept.
The scene Sunday outside Aiyana Jones’ home on Lillibridge was a mixture of shock, grief and anger as family and friends gathered to try to make sense of a shooting death they said was caused by over-aggressive law enforcement.
Police said they, too, are deeply upset by the second-grader’s death and are conducting a full investigation.
The shooting — which happened during a raid to catch a murder suspect who was found and arrested at the home today — is the latest high-profile death in a city where there is a growing sense that violence is spilling out of control.
Ron Scott, head of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality, called Sunday’s shooting the worst he has seen in 14 years of working to stop police abuse.
But some said it’s too early to point fingers.
“Things go wrong, and things happen that you didn’t necessarily plan for,” said retired Detroit Police Sgt. David Malhalab, who frequently monitors Detroit police issues. “All I ask is for the public to wait until a complete and thorough investigation is completed.”
It’s a chain of events triggered at 3 p.m. Friday with the shooting death of Jarean Blake, 17, a student at Southeastern High School in Detroit.
Blake was gunned down “in particularly brutal fashion in front of a store — and in front of his girlfriend,” said Detroit Police Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee in a statement.
Investigators identified the suspect as a 34-year-old man, and obtained a search warrant for a home on Lillibridge, on Detroit’s east side.
“Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible,” Godbee said in a statement.
Outside the home, the department’s Special Response Team was prepared to go in.
Police said that they threw an incendiary device known as a flash bang through a front window of the home to create a distraction.
After entering, a Detroit officer got into a tussle with Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother, who was in the front room.
The police gun went off. Aiyana was killed.
According to family members, Aiyana was sleeping on the couch, which sat near a window that faces the street. The explosive device the police threw in landed on that couch and burned her, said her father, Charles Jones. He and other say the girl was burning when she was shot.
“I heard Boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast,” Krystal Sanders, 30, an aunt of the girl who lives at the house said outside the home. Her fiance was the man police were looking to arrest.
Aiyana’s dad, Charles Jones, said he rushed into the living room after hearing the explosive and gunshot. He says police made him lie face down on the ground, his face in shattered glass and the blood of his daughter.
“Blood was coming down her mouth,” said Mertilla Jones. “They killed my grandbaby.”
Charles Jones said that police told him his daughter would be ok.
The girl was rushed to St. John’s Hospital & Medical Center in Detroit, where she was pronounced dead.
Godbee said that he along with other ranking members of the department went to the hospital.
“This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her,” Godbee said. “We cannot undo what occurred this morning. All we can do is to pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana’s family in whatever way.”
“We have executed countless high risk warrants where children have been present,” Godbee later told the Free Press Sunday. “This was a perfect storm for tragedy.”
Activists such as Scott say such devices are military-style tools inappropriate for civilian settings — especially where children are present. But police say they use to distract suspects that are potentially violent and hostile.
Police did find and arrest the man they came for. Charges had not been filed as of Sunday night. Godbee said that police found a car and moped that matched descriptions of vehicles involved in the fatal shooting of Blake.
Aiyana was described by family members a lively girl who loved to sing and dance. She was especially fond of teen pop stars Justin Beiber and Hannah Montana. Balloons with Montana’s image were hung outside the home by family members on Sunday.
In photos shared by family on Sunday, Aiyana was seen at her 6the birthday party blowing out candles on a cake frosted with the image of Montana.
In another, she posed for the camera, beaming.
“Everybody loved her,” her father said, “and she loved everybody.”
Contact NIRAJ WARIKOO: firstname.lastname@example.org or 313-223-4792
Source: Detroit Free Press
Addendum: ABC has dropped the reality show. For TV viewers it is back to fantasy land.
ABC dumps cop show in wake of Aiyana Jones Detroit shooting
Disney-owned ABC’s new scripted cop drama “Detroit 1-8-7″ dropped its “documentary” conceit as a result of the shooting death of a Detroit child during a police raid being recorded by cameras for a reality series on a Disney co-owned cable network.
In the wake of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones’s death, some family members, and attorneys, suggested cops were playing to the camera crew during the raid. “The main reason …that was pretty real and pretty scary stuff,” “Detroit 1-8-7″ executive producer Jason Richman told TV critics about the May shooting death, when asked why the format on his fictional, scripted drama series had been changed.
“The city was very concerned about that….[Detroit authorities] patently said that no documentary film crews could follow these police around” in the wake of the shooting,” Richman continued, adding, “We were sensitive to their concerns.”
ABC scripted cop show dumps docu style in wake of death during reality-show taping
Disney-owned ABC's new scripted cop drama "Detroit 1-8-7" dropped its "documentary" conceit as a result of the shooting death of a Detroit child during a police raid being recorded by cameras for a reality series on a Disney co-owned cable network.
In the wake of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones's death, some family members, and attorneys, suggested cops were playing to the camera crew during the raid.
"The main reason ...that was pretty real and pretty scary stuff," "Detroit 1-8-7" executive producer Jason Richman told TV critics about the May shooting death, when asked why the format on his fictional, scripted drama series had been changed.
"The city was very concerned about that....[Detroit authorities] patently said that no documentary film crews could follow these police around" in the wake of the shooting," Richman continued, adding, "We were sensitive to their concerns."
"The credibility of the premise at that point was undermined," chimed in "Detroit 1-8-7" exec producer David Zabel.
The May 16 incident occurred when a camera crew for A&E reality show "The First 48" was outside a home being raided by Detroit homicide detectives. The homicide cops, joined by an "elite Special Response Team," were looking for the suspect in the shooting death of a 17-year-old high school student not far from Aiyana's home.
Police claimed officers threw a non-lethal flash grenade through the first-floor window of the two-family home and that when an officer ran into the girl's grandmother, his gun discharged, accidentally killing the child. Critics of the cops, however, said they had video showing an offer lobbing the grenade and then shooting into the house; they've suggestd the cops were playing to the TV cameras.
"The implication was that they were perhaps amping it up a little bit for the cameras," Zabel told TV critics Sunday.
"Jason and I happened to be [in Detroit] at the time, and the confusion over what our show was, what our show was going to be, what our show wanted to be, was only exacerbated by the fact that [death] had occurred."
A&E is jointly owned by Disney, NBC Universal, and Hearst.
Source: Washington Post