DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – A jury has been seated in the trial of a Detroit police officer who unintentionally killed a 7-year-old girl during a hunt for a murder suspect in 2010.
Opening statements are set for Thursday in Wayne County court after three days of jury selection ended Wednesday.
Joseph Weekley is charged with involuntary manslaughter, accused of handling his gun recklessly during a chaotic police raid at a Detroit home. Aiyana Stanley-Jones was fatally shot while she slept on a couch.
Although Weekley is white and Aiyana was black, seated jurors say race will have no influence on their ability to be fair. They also say they won’t be influenced by the recent shooting of an unarmed black teen by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Weekley maintains he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, grabbed his submachine gun after the team threw a “flash bang” grenade and entered the home. The grandmother denies she touched the gun, and another officer testified that there was no struggle over the weapon.
Weekley was indicted by a grand jury in October 2011 after a year-long investigation.
The raid was being filmed for the A&E reality show “The First 48,” and Aiyana’s family members believe the officers involved were more concerned about how they looked on TV than they were about properly conducting their police work.
Last summer, a videographer who filmed the raid for the TV show was sentenced to probation in connection with the case after she lied about trying to sell footage shot on the night Aiyana was killed.
The incident led to a ban by then-Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on TV crews going out with police.
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