Family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones sues Detroit cop

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

The family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones has filed a wrongful death lawsuit in federal court against the Detroit police officer involved in a May 2010 raid that led to her shooting death.

Named in the lawsuit filed by attorney Geoffrey Fieger are Officer Joseph Weekley, Robert Rowe, the Detroit Police Department, members of the department’s Special Response Team and the city of Detroit.

The lawsuit alleges that Weekley and Rowe used excessive force, violated Aiyana’s civil rights and attempted to cover up circumstances surrounding the shooting. The family has requested a jury trial and is seeking damages of at least $75,000 in the filing in U.S. District Court in Detroit.

“Defendants Joseph Weekly and Robert Rowe unlawfully seized Aiyana Stanley-Jones, used excessive force against her and unlawfully used deadly force thereby inflicting horrendous personal injuries and ultimately death from which certain damages naturally followed to the members of Aiyana Stanley-Jones family and/or estate,” the lawsuit said.

Weekley’s attorney Steve Fishman could not be reached for comment.

The lawsuit comes after the last charge against Weekley, a misdemeanor count of careless discharge causing injury or death, was dismissed in late January. His first trial for involuntary manslaughter and the misdemeanor count ended in a hung jury. His second trial on the misdemeanor count ended in a mistrial.

When the misdemeanor count was dismissed in January, Fieger said he would proceed with a civil lawsuit case.

“We were on stay pending the outcome of the criminal trial,” Fieger said in January. “The stay will now be lifted and we will now proceed with the civil case.”

Aiyana, 7, was asleep on a sofa on May 16, 2010, when police raided her family’s east-side home looking for a murder suspect. The cable TV show “The First 48” was filming the raid.

Weekley led the special response team into the home on Lillibridge, where seconds later the officer said the girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, slapped at his gun, causing it to fire and fatally hit Aiyana.

The lawsuit alleges that during the raid, Rowe threw a flash-bang grenade through a window that hit Aiyana and that police blindly fired shots into the lower duplex.

“In an intentional cover-up conspiracy to hide what had happened, Detroit Special Response Team Officer Joseph Weekly rushed into the house and made physical contact in the front room with Mertilla Jones, Aiyana Stanley-Jones’ grandmother,” the lawsuit stated.

Detroit Sgt. Eren Stephens declined to comment on the lawsuit Wednesday evening.

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