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Detroit Cop Charged in Child's Death During Raid Filmed for 'The First 48'

by Catherine Lawson, posted Oct 5th 2011 6:50AM
A and E logoA Detroit police officer is facing charges stemming from the shooting death of a child during a raid being filmed for A&E reality show 'The First 48.'

The AP reports that Joseph Weekley, a member of the city's Special Response Team, was indicted Tuesday on involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless discharge of a firearm causing the death of seven year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

The TV show's principal photographer, Allison Howard, was also indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. She and Weekley have both pleaded not guilty.

The indictments come after a year-long investigation into the death of Aiyana, who was shot during a night-time raid on her home. Police officials have said that Weekley's gun accidentally discharged after he was bumped or jostled by the girl's grandmother.

Police raided the home looking for Aiyana's aunt's fiancé, Chauncey Owens, who was the suspect in a shooting death. (He has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.) Charges have also been filed against Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, who's expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and perjury in a court proceeding.

Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman, said his client "knows he was acting as a police officer in a dangerous mission." If convicted, Weekley could face 15 years behind bars.

According to the AP, Howard is accused of lying to prosecutors about showing or giving video footage of the raid to "third parties." The indictment did not specify who the third party was, but in a press conference last year an attorney for Aiyana's family told reporters they'd seen a few minutes of the video footage.

'The First 48' follows homicide detectives in various U.S. police departments as they work the critical first 48 hours of a murder investigation. The show's website says it gives viewers "unprecedented access to crime scenes, interrogations and forensic processing."

Aiyana's death led Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to ban reality TV crews from tagging along with city police. He also admonished then-Police Chief Warren Evans for not telling him that he'd permitted TV cameras to be present during raids.

In a statement yesterday, Bing said "Our condolences remain with all affected by this tragedy. We must use this difficult moment to continue bringing our community and police department together."

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dazjah00

PEOPLE THEY RAIDED THE WRONG HOUSE WHICH THEY FAILED TO MENTION... KILLING AN INNOCENT LITTLE GIRL WHILE SHE SLEEP ON THE COUCH, I DONT CARE WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT THE LITTLE GIRL FATHER OR WHAT HE HAD IN THE HOUSE THE FACT IS THE DETROIT POLICE DEPT. RAIDED THE WRONG HOUSE

October 08 2011 at 11:55 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
skip

While not having seen the footage, it's hard to have an opinion> I do though think it's a real stretch of the imagination to believe this cop set out to kill someone that night, let alone an innocent little girl ! He will carry this with him for the rest of his life. Sounds like a political game to me. Let's just throw this cop under the bus and make bunches of people happy. YEA ! The family gets vengance, and the politico's get to keep their jobs. Sad !

October 08 2011 at 8:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cee64e

As has been posted many times in these comments, there are grave doubts about the story coming out of the Detroit Police Dept. This article doesn't include that information though a simple YouTube search would reveal it.

You can blame the family all you want, but Weekely is ultimately responsible for the control of his weapon and it looks like he may have fired the killing shot BEFORE he even got inside. This article also doesn't mention that the raid was conducted on THE WRONG HOUSE. The man they were looking for was found in the UPSTAIRS apartment of the duplex. This information is all a year old now but most of you haven't bothered to look. You just accept the "official" word as gospel. You seem to have this idea that because Weekely is a cop he can do no wrong. Weekely is a human being, man most mortal, and subject to screwing up JUST LIKE ANYONE ELSE. And just like anyone else he should suffer the consequences of his poor decisions. He would not have been indicted if there wasn't at least some question about his role in this child's death.

Learn more about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PxLf6QSSMJQ

October 06 2011 at 7:25 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
stenokat

There is nothing these POS police could do to make this good

October 06 2011 at 6:02 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tazzubek

The cops would not have been in that house had it not been for the family members who committed crimes and we should all keep that in mind. The fact that a child paid with her life as a result of her family members actions is the real shame here. The officer was doing his job and nobody knows how difficult that job is unless they've done it so everyone posting here about how the cop was wrong or shouldn't have had his "finger on the trigger" needs to realize that they have no idea what they are talking about unless they have actually worked in law enforcement. As for the TV show and their involvement in this situation, I have never been in favor of TV cameras or crews going along on these types of situations because there are too many variables on a good day and throwing TV cameras and crews into the mix was just an accident waiting to happen. If the photographer broke the law then she should be punished. I am glad that Mayor Bing had the guts to say no more TV crews tagging along with police. This is a very sad story all the way around but everyone needs to take a deep breath and think clearly before jumping to any conclusions.

October 06 2011 at 5:20 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
4 replies to tazzubek's comment
susan

If we think the cops were dangerous, how about the uncle & father both felons. Poor Child, didnt have a chance one way or the other, RIP little one.....

October 06 2011 at 4:41 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
prerry

Police officers need to be drug tested at least three times a week.

October 06 2011 at 4:19 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to prerry's comment
FRED

How about testing the population of Detroit three times a week, especially if they are on public assistance???

October 06 2011 at 5:38 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
prerry

There is a lot wrong with the laws and the only way to fix it is to use our power that we have when we serve as a Juror. Google Citizens Rule Book, Jury Rights.
"the jury has a right to judge both the law as well as the fact in controversy."
John Jay, 1st Chief Justice US Supreme Court 1789
"the law itself is on trial quite as much as the cause which is to be decided."
Harlan F. Stone, 12th Chief Justice US Supreme Court 1941
We The People Need To Learn Just What We Really Can Do.

'

October 06 2011 at 4:15 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tyche1234

Instead of charging the police for doing their jobs, why don't they charge the stupid woman who had a killer boyfriend when she had kids in the house?
There is so much wrong with society and laws now. The people that are to enforce the laws have their hands tied so they can not do the job they are to do.
Anyone with kids that are involved in any sort of crime or a person who is involved in a crime should be held responsible wholly and solely. Put your kids in harms way and someone gets killed or hurt, so be it. You put them in that situation, no one else is to blame but you. Funny how being responsible could help you and yours.

October 06 2011 at 3:12 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to tyche1234's comment
Tiffany

When I first started reading, I was thinking the same thing...why in the hell would anyone put their children in a situation like this? But that does not in any way void the police officer of his responsibility to handle his firearm in a responsible way. As unfortunate as it is, there is always the likely hood that there are children and/or other innocent bystanders in the houses of these raids. You can't just go in shooting like rambo. He had a duty to serve AND protect and unfortunately he did not do the latter. My prayers go out to the family of this poor child.

October 06 2011 at 4:17 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Mr Shep

There was no fugitive in the house. the policeman should not have his finger on the trigger. This was something that should not have happened

October 06 2011 at 2:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mr Shep's comment
TYLER11EIAN4

How could they know the guy wasn't there unless they broke in. Sounds like this family was hiding the aunties boyfriend. The fugitive was wanted for murder .

October 06 2011 at 4:34 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to TYLER11EIAN4's comment
dazjah00

i see you havent read the story either they raided the wrong house !!!

October 08 2011 at 11:59 AM Report abuse rate up rate down

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