By Dominic Indolino |Staff Writer|
After four years of ongoing trials, police officer Joseph Weekley, the one responsible for the accidental death of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, walks free.
The Huffington Post reports that the entire case was dismissed this January by Wayne County Circuit Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway, calling the death “unfortunate.”
The problem is that more officers are not held accountable for their actions.
The context of this situation presents an interesting twist on this case.
On the morning of May 16, 2010, Detroit’s Special Response Team charged into a house in Eastside Detroit while a television crew for A&E’s The First 48, was being filmed.
Given this critical time limit of 48 hours to crack a case, I feel the police officers wanted to put on a show for the cameras.
Police acquired a warrant to raid a house believed to be Chauncey Owens, who was a suspect in a murder that occurred the day before, according to motherjones.com.
Reports show that the Special Response Team threw a flash bang into the window of the living room, even though both front doors were unlocked.
Upon entrance, Weekley shot Stanley-Jones in the head, according to motherjones.com.
“It’s not protocol,” said a Detroit police detective. Like in the case of Eric Garner, police officers seem to be able to get away with skipping protocol.
Weekley stated that the only reason he fired his gun was because Stanley-Jones grandmother (who was also present) reached for the gun.
Stanley-Jones’ grandmother was arrested and taken in for questioning.
Tests were later administered to prove if she was anywhere near Officer Weekley’s gun.
All tests came back negative, and investigators also checked for Martilla’s fingerprints on Weekley’s gun but none were found.
It turns out, Owens lived on the floor above the Jones family.
Despite this apparent lack of evidence, Weekley maintained his original statement.
Weekley’s statement was accepted by Judge Hathaway, but not by Stanley-Jones’ father, Charles Jones.
Jones said, “I can accept the shooting was a mistake, but I can’t accept it because they lied about it.”
The Violent Crime and Control Law Enforcement Act of 1994 mandates that the Attorney General must collect data on the use of excessive force by police and then publish a report. However, the report has become just a long list of names that now includes Stanley-Jones.
Student Dawnika Lopez thinks that police brutality is not new, but has caught recent media attention. “Those in charge of police institutions should do more to have classes and lectures on morality,” said Lopez.
This would remind officers how much weight their actions could carry.
Student Michael Geocadin provides a counterargument, stating that “the actions of the [police officers] are solved in an appropriate manner [to them].”
How do we re-educate a police force that thinks they are free from indictment?
In our current situation, I feel helpless against an officer that thinks I pose a threat to them, especially when recent trials show that they can get away with murder.