DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – The family of a 7-year-old Detroit girl killed during a police raid has filed a second lawsuit against officers and the city, nearly five years after the fatal shooting.
The estate of Aiyana Stanley-Jones says her civil rights were violated when officers burst through the door of her Detroit home in search of a murder suspect during a chaotic raid in 2010.
Detroit police declined to comment on the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday in federal court. A separate lawsuit filed by the family is pending in Wayne County court.
Aiyana was accidentally killed by Officer Joseph Weekley in May 2010. She was shot in the head as she slept on a couch in the living room.
Weekley, a member of an elite Detroit police unit, insists he accidentally pulled the trigger when Aiyana’s grandmother grabbed his gun as officers burst into her home. The grandmother, who’s offered some very emotional testimony, denied any interference.
Aiyana’s death capped a chaotic night. With a reality TV crew outdoors, filming for A&E’s “The First 48,” Weekley and other members of Detroit’s Special Response Team raided the home in riot gear after first throwing a stun grenade through a window. It released smoke, bright light and vibrations to confuse anyone inside.
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. The incident led to a ban by then-Detroit Mayor Dave Bing on TV crews going out with police.
Weekley’s first two trials resulted in hung juries and a judge dismissed a charge of involuntary manslaughter last October, saying no evidence was presented to support it. A misdemeanor charge of recklessly using a firearm was subsequently dropped.
In early 2014, the man whom police were trying to find during the raid, Chauncey Owens, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after being found guilty of first-degree murder. Owens was convicted of killing a 17-year-old Je’Rean Blake outside a Detroit party store in 2010. Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, was convicted of second-degree murder in the case. According to police, Charles Jones provided the gun and Owens pulled the trigger.
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