It has been almost 8 years since Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley used his sub-machine gun to shoot and kill 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones during an early morning SWAT team raid, and the legal struggles continue.
Two criminal trials in 2013 and 2014 ended in hung juries and all charges against Weekley were ultimately dismissed, so the killer did not face criminal accountability for killing the 7-year-old girl, reported M Live.
However, wrongful death lawsuits filed by relatives of Aiyana are still pending in both state and federal court.
Arguments were heard at the Michigan Court of Appeals on Tuesday, Jan. 9.
In September 2016, Weekley’s attorneys failed in their attempt to convince a Wayne County judge to dismiss the case, claiming the officer was not grossly negligent when he shot Aiyana in the head on May 16, 2010.
After failing, Weekley’s attorneys appealed, and both the state and federal lawsuits were placed on hold.
A quick summary from M Live of the events that left the child dead:
Weekley led Detroit’s SWAT team into a Lillibridge Street home on Detroit’s east side about 2 a.m. the morning of the shooting in search of homicide suspect Chauncey Owens, who would later be arrested in the second-floor unit of the duplex.
Detroit police, with producers from an A&E reality show in tow, fired a flash-bang grenade through the bay window of the home the night of Aiyana’s death and stormed in with Weekley leading the charge.
Weekley, carrying both a tactical shield and an MP5 sub-machine gun, turned left after entering the home and his gun discharged a bullet into the head of Aiyana, who was sleeping on the couch alongside her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, beneath a “Hanna Montana” blanket, testimony at Weekley’s criminal trials revealed.
Weekley claims the gun fired because Aiyana’s grandmother lunged at him and grabbed the firearm, causing his finger to move onto and pull the trigger.
Police protocol, members from Weekley’s team testified, calls for only placing your finger on the trigger when you have identified and intend to fire on a target.
Jones said Weekley is lying and she never attacked the officer who killed her grandchild.
“You killed my grandbaby,” she said from the witness stand in 2013. “You know I never touched you.”
Weekley’s attorney, Lawrence Garcia, told the three-judge panel that the case should be dismissed because the gross negligent claims are not appropriate charges, suggesting Weekley did not have his finger on the trigger. Garcia went on to blame the child’s grandmother for the girl’s death, “This is either an intentional execution or something caused by a struggle.”
No time-frame has been given for the Court of Appeals panel to rule on arguments made in Weekley’s case Tuesday.