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How 7 Year Old Aiyana Jones Wound Up Shot Dead By Detroit Police

May 17, 2010

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Aiyana Jones was just 7 years old, when, according to family members, she slept on the living room sofa, oblivious to the scene unfolding outside her home in Detroit.

A police tactical unit was closing in- as was the A&E crime drama “The First 48.”  Detroit PD were on the hunt for the suspect in a gruesome murder of a 17 year old just a few days earlier.

They wanted to take the suspect by surprise and without incident.

But what no one could foresee, was that within minutes the little girl would be dead.

Flash bangs were thrown through at least 1 window, confusing the occupants.

Police say Aiyana’s grandmother got into a physical altercation with one officer.

His gun went off.  Bullets hit the child in the head and neck.  Her father recounts being thrown and pinned to the floor with shards of glass and his daughter’s blood in his face.

Aiyana was rushed to hospital where she was pronounced dead.

Now, the blame game begins.

It was the fault of the police.

It was the fault of the family.

“This would have never happened to a white child!” one angry blogger claimed.

“Maybe if the family hadn’t been living with a murderer this would have never happened,” said another.

“They should arrest that grandmother and charge her for Aiyana’s death- you can’t just go around attacking police officers,” said a third.

A lawyer for the family claims to have seen video footage of what happened.  In a starting claim, he said police fired from outside the home.

“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 owns the video and they aren’t talking.

And the little girl is still dead.

Many have asked- what do I think?

It’s hard to know what to think without hardened facts to evaluate.  All we know for certain is an officer’s gun discharged the bullets that killed this sweet-smiling child.

We know they did find the suspect they were looking for at the home in question.

We know a tv crew was on the scene, accompanying police on the raid.

We know that both sides have their claims about what did and didn’t happen.

On the one hand, if the events happen the way the police claim; the grandmother got into a physical altercation with a police officer and the gun discharged in the scuffle- it is a tragic accident.  It bothers me that many- including the child’s relatives would accuse the police department of “murdering” Aiyana. To commit murder is to kill intentionally and with premeditation.  It’s ignorant to push that charge against the officer or the entire department.  It’s also ironic, seeing as the officers were at the home to arrest a man suspected of intentionally killing someone elses child with premeditation.

On the other hand, if, as the lawyer representing the family claims, the officer shot from outside the home, that’s another matter entirely.

What would cause him to do such a thing?  Was his trigger finger itching?

Either way, the two accounts are light years away from each other.

Many have complained that tv crews have no business riding along with or shadowing police, especially in potentially dangerous situations like these. What a bitter twist then, that A&E’s video may hold the key to what happened that night.

I have followed the coverage of this story closely every since the news broke in the early morning hours on Sunday. Right now the pieces don’t fit together.  There are details missing. Yet the so-called “Black leaders” are rushing to make Aiyana the new poster child for excessive force and police brutality.

Yet no one knows for sure what happened.

That said, and while I know this is not the “popular” opinion to have as a journalist or a Black person, my mind keeps getting pulled to the “personal accountability” piece in all of this.

If the grandmother attacked a police officer, she is at fault. Period. One thing that has bothered me from minute 1 on this- the grandmother has yet to say anything of substance.  She’s been all over the news accusing the police of murdering Aiyana.  But she has never offered an account of what happened in the house. If she has, it’s not on the paper or the local newscast.

Did police shoot from outside the home, striking the child?

Did she struggle with an officer, or was she just rushing to get to the child in the confusion of the raid, unsure of who was coming into her home?

She hasn’t said anything. Nothing. Even before the family had a lawyer, she’s offered no substance, and it’s not as if she hasn’t been asked by the media time and time again “what happened.”

“They murdered my grandbaby” is not an answer to that question.

Aiyana’s family had a suspected murderer in their home.  It’s easy to say “there is no proof the family knew what he had allegedly done.” True.  And there is no proof they didn’t.

For now, we could all do ourselves a big favor if we stopped jumping to conclusions and asserting absolutes not proven factual. And if what the attorney says is true, and an officer fired his weapon into the house from outside, I shudder to think of the fallout that will come with that revelation.  Right now DPD is trying to get a copy of the footage from A&E. Video never lies.

So let’s see it.


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One Comment leave one →
  1. MissBlurbette permalink
    May 27, 2010 9:22 am

    “I never struggled with the Detroit Police. If I had struggled with the Detroit Police, I’d be dead alongside my granddaughter. They messed up, and they know they… messed up,” said Ms. Jones on Fox News ( quote fom the grandmother.

    I have to agree that we don’t have all the facts but I’ve watched The First 48 many times and programs like it. Is there some “show of strength” from police or showing out as we say down south, yes, I think there is. And regardless of how it went down a 7 year old is dead of a gunshot. Say that again. No matter how you slice it, there is no sense to be made of it. But it wasn’t the grandmother’s gun.

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