Aiyana Stanley-Jones

Aiyana Stanley-Jones (Handout photo)

Detroit Cop Loses Appeal Over Suit In Death Of 7-Year-Old Aiyana Jones

September 13, 2018 - 6:10 pm

DETROIT (WWJ/AP) - The Michigan Supreme Court has cleared the way for a trial or settlement in a lawsuit against a Detroit police officer who accidentally killed a 7-year-old girl during a raid.

Two courts have said a jury can decide whether Joseph Weekley's actions amounted to gross negligence, after the Supreme Court this week declined to hear an appeal.

Joseph Weekley
FILE: Joseph Weekley in court in 2013. (Photo: Pat Sweeting/WWJ)
Aiyana Stanley-Jones was fatally shot as she slept on a couch in her home in the early morning hours of May 16, 2010.

Weekley, then a member of an elite police unit, was the first officer through the door during a chaotic search for a murder suspect. 

The raid was being filmed for the documentary-style A&E TV show “The First 48,” which follows homicide investigators during the first 48 hours after a homicide.

While witnesses said officers burst in shooting, Weekley insists he accidentally fired his submachine gun during a struggle with the child's grandmother. Police took the grandmother into custody and administered tests for gunpowder and drugs, but she was released hours later.

Stanley-Jones' death made national headlines, attracting attention from civil rights leaders such as the Rev. Al Sharpton, who delivered the eulogy at her funeral.

Family members believe that officers involved in the deadly raid were more concerned about how they looked on TV than they were about conducting their police work properly. Following the child's death, then-Detroit Mayor Dave Bing banned TV crews from going out with police.

Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but a mistrial was declared in June of 2013 when a jury failed to reach a consensus. The manslaughter charge was then dismissed by a judge, leaving only a misdemeanor count of careless discharge causing injury or death. 

Following a second mistrial in October of 2014 -- again due to a deadlocked jury -- Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said the case against Weekley would not move ahead.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.