DETROIT — Police who carried out a raid on a family home that left a 7-year-old girl dead over the weekend were accompanied by a camera crew for a reality television show, and an attorney says video of the siege contradicts the police account of what happened.
Geoffrey Fieger, an attorney for the family of young Aiyana Jones, said he has seen three or four minutes of video of the raid, although he declined to say whether it was shot by the crew for the A&E series “The First 48,” which has been shadowing Detroit homicide detectives for months.
Police have said officers threw a flash grenade through the first-floor window of the two-family home, and that an officer’s gun discharged, killing the girl, during a struggle or after colliding with the girl’s grandmother inside the home.
But Fieger said the video shows an officer lobbing the grenade and then shooting into the home from the porch.
“There is no question about what happened because it’s in the videotape,” Fieger said. “It’s not an accident. It’s not a mistake. There was no altercation.”
“Aiyana Jones was shot from outside on the porch. The videotape shows clearly the officer throwing through the window a stun grenade-type explosive and then within milliseconds of throwing that, firing a shot from outside the home,” he said.
A&E spokesman Dan Silberman said neither he nor anyone else from the network would comment about the case, and he denied a request by The Associated Press for the footage.
Read the rest at the link above.
For all those right-wing conservatives and liberal left democrats out there, better take the blinders off to the republicans, democrats, and past administrations. We all look the same to the paramilitary police.
(CNN) — Police in Detroit, Michigan, on Sunday expressed “profound sorrow” at the fatal shooting of a 7-year-old girl in a police raid.
Aiyana Jones was shot and killed by police executing a search warrant as part of a homicide investigation, Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said in a statement.
“This is any parent’s worst nightmare,” Godbee said. “It also is any police officer’s worst nightmare. And today, it is all too real.”
The warrant was executed about 12:40 a.m. ET Sunday at a home on the city’s east side, Godbee said. Authorities believed the suspect in the Friday shooting death of 17-year-old high school student Jarean Blake was hiding out at the home. Blake was gunned down in front of a store as his girlfriend watched, Godbee said. (emphasis mine)
Preliminary information indicates that members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team approached the house and announced themselves as police, Godbee said, citing the officers and at least one independent witness.
“As is common in these types of situations, the officers deployed a distractionary device commonly known as a flash bang,” he said in the statement. “The purpose of the device is to temporarily disorient occupants of the house to make it easier for officers to safely gain control of anyone inside and secure the premise.”
Upon entering the home, the officer encountered a 46-year-old female inside the front room, Godbee said. “Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact.
“At about this time, the officer’s weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area.”
The girl was immediately transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead. Godbee said he and other officers went to the hospital while others stayed at the home to execute the warrant.
Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, told CNN affiliate WDIV, “She was sleeping and they came in the door shooting and throwing flash grenades … burned my baby up and shot her, killed her.”
Jones claimed the officers had the wrong house, but Godbee said in the statement the 34-year-old suspect in Blake’s death was found and arrested at the home. In addition, a vehicle and a moped matching the descriptions of those involved in Blake’s shooting were also found, he said.
The suspect’s name was not released.
Godbee said he wished to “express to the family of Aiyana Jones the profound sorrow that we feel within the Detroit Police Department and throughout this community. We know that no words can do anything to take away the pain you are feeling at this time.”
Police obtained the “high-risk search warrant” based on intelligence, and it was approved by the prosecutor and a magistrate, Godbee said. “Because of the ruthless and violent nature of the suspect in this case, it was determined that it would be in the best interest of public safety to execute the search warrant as soon as possible and detain the suspect … while we sought a murder warrant,” he said. (emphasis mine)
The police statement said Chief Warren Evans is out of town and could not be present “to personally address this tragedy,” but “his thoughts and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Aiyana Jones.”
The officer’s weapon was secured, and an investigation is under way, Godbee said, emphasizing the information gained so far is preliminary.
“This is a tragedy of unspeakable magnitude to Aiyana’s parents, family and all those who loved her,” Godbee said. “… It is a tragedy we also feel very deeply throughout the ranks of the Detroit Police Department.
“We cannot undo what occurred this morning,” he said. “All we can do is pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana’s family in whatever way they may be willing to accept from us at this time. I understand that they may not be open to such a gesture at this time, but we do stand ready to do anything we can to support them.”
I’ll believe it when I see it. Remember this from May 5, 2010?
WARNING: GRAPHIC, VIOLENT VIDEO
Americans have long maintained that a man’s home is his castle and that he has the right to defend it from unlawful intruders. Unfortunately, that right may be disappearing. Over the last 25 years, America has seen a disturbing militarization of its civilian law enforcement, along with a dramatic and unsettling rise in the use of paramilitary police units (most commonly called Special Weapons and Tactics, or SWAT) for routine police work. The most common use of SWAT teams today is to serve narcotics warrants, usually with forced, unannounced entry into the home.
These increasingly frequent raids, 40,000 per year by one estimate, are needlessly subjecting nonviolent drug offenders, bystanders, and wrongly targeted civilians to the terror of having their homes invaded while they’re sleeping, usually by teams of heavily armed paramilitary units dressed not as police officers but as soldiers. These raids bring unnecessary violence and provocation to nonviolent drug offenders, many of whom were guilty of only misdemeanors. The raids terrorize innocents when police mistakenly target the wrong residence. And they have resulted in dozens of needless deaths and injuries, not only of drug offenders, but also of police officers, children, bystanders, and innocent suspects.
This paper presents a history and overview of the issue of paramilitary drug raids, provides an extensive catalogue of abuses and mistaken raids, and offers recommendations for reform.