$8.25M settlement reached in Aiyana Stanley-Jones suit
The family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones agreed to an $8.25 million settlement Thursday with the city of Detroit over the girl's shooting death in a police raid nine years ago.
The civil trial in the death of the 7-year-old Detroit girl was set to begin Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
"Aiyana's death was a tragic loss for her family and has been a heavy burden on our community. We believe today's settlement is fair because it balances the needs of Aiyana's family and our responsibility for the city's finances. We hope this resolution will provide everyone involved a measure of closure," Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia said in a statement.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed by Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley on May 16, 2010, during a raid that was being filmed by a TV camera crew.
A police Special Response Team led by Weekley entered the family's flat on Lillibridge Street on Detroit's east side while searching for a suspect in the murder of 17-year-old Je'Rean Blake outside a convenience store days earlier.
Weekley said that seconds after entering the home, Aiyana's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, slapped at his MP-5 sub-machine gun, causing it to fire a bullet that killed Aiyana. The child had been sleeping on a couch in the living room with her grandmother.
The family's attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, said Thursday the case took so long to resolve because of the city's bankruptcy and an appeal. He said the city understood the enormity of the case since it involved "the killing of a 7-year-old old child during a made-for-TV police raid."
Fieger said the settlement should allow the girl's family, the city and Weekley to move on from the tragedy but added that the loss of a child is something "you can never recover from."
"It's a wound that never heals," he said. "(The final settlement) won't provide full justice. The only full justice would be to bring Aiyana back and I can't do that."
Fieger said the family was not making any comments about the settlement Thursday.
Weekley was officially restored to active duty with the Detroit Police Department in April 2015. He was transferred out of the Special Response Team to the department's Criminal Investigations Bureau.
Weekley was charged in Aiyana's death, with his first trial ending in with a hung jury in June 2013.
During a second trial, Wayne Circuit Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway threw out a manslaughter charge against Weekley, but the jury failed to reach a verdict on a misdemeanor charge of reckless discharge of a firearm in October 2014. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office declined to try Weekley a third time.
Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, was convicted in Blake's shooting death and sentenced to 40-60 years. Jones was accused of providing a gun to Chauncey Owens to kill Blake outside a Detroit convenience store.