Cop won't be retried in girl's death
The last remaining count against Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley, who was charged in the death of a girl during a police raid, is being dropped, the Wayne County Prosecutor's Office announced Wednesday.
"Today we personally informed the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones that we have made a decision that we would not be going to trial for a third time in the Joseph Weekley case," Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said.
"It is unfortunate that Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway granted a directed verdict dismissing the felony manslaughter charge, leaving only the misdemeanor count of careless discharge causing injury or death. Under the law, her decision cannot be appealed."
Worthy said the case will be officially dismissed during a hearing at 9 a.m. Friday in Wayne County Circuit Court. Aiyana was 7 when she was shot during the raid May 16, 2010, at her home.
"It was a courageous decision and a correct one," said Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman.
Ron Scott, a member of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality and a spokesman for Aiyana's family, said the girl's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, wept Wednesday when she learned the last charge was being dropped against Weekley.
"She thinks the system has failed her," Scott said Wednesday. "She feels the decision by Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway for a directed verdict was a travesty. She feels it's unfair and he's getting away with murder and can go back to his job."
Scott said his organization will be asking for an "internal remedy" by Detroit Police against Weekley. "(Federal authorities) need to seek federal civil rights charges against (Weekley)," he said. "This has set police and community relations back 15 to 20 years."
Roland Lawrence, chairman of the Justice for Aiyana Jones Committee, said Hathaway "abused her authority by dismissing felony charges against Joe Weekley before the jury had a chance to deliberate."
In October, Aiyana's great-uncle said the family had had enough. "The mom is hurt again," Londell Fields said of his niece, Aiyana's mother, Dominka Stanley. "She don't want to go through it again. ... She wants it to be over with. There's nothing left to be said about it; it's done."
Wednesday, a police union official applauded the decision to drop the final count against Weekley, who has been on paid administrative leave since he was charged in March 2011.
"It's great news," Detroit Police Officers Association President Mark Diaz said. "It's great news for the community, for the Detroit Police Department and the law enforcement community in general. The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office is having a difficult time finding the resources to prosecute murderers and rapists, so to try (Weekley) for a third time would obviously be a waste of money they don't have."
Aiyana was asleep on a sofa when police raided her family's home on May 16, 2010. The nighttime raid was being filmed by camera crews for the cable TV show "The First 48."
Weekley led the Detroit Police Special Response Team into the residence on Lillibridge on the city's east side, looking for a homicide suspect. He claims Jones slapped at his gun, causing it to fire and kill the sleeping girl.
Weekley's first trial ended in a hung jury. His second trial, in October, was declared a mistrial.
Staff Writer George Hunter contributed.