Detroit settles with Aiyana Stanley-Jones family
Carol Ozemhoya | OW Contributor | 4/11/2019, 11:03 a.m.
The city of Detroit reached an $8.25 million settlement with the family of a 7-year-old girl accidentally killed by a police officer during a 2010 raid, reports the Associated Press. Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia announced the settlement with the family of Aiyana Stanley-Jones four days before a civil trial was to begin. “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,” Garcia said in a statement. The girl was shot in the head while she slept on a couch. Joseph Weekley, a member of an elite police unit, was the first officer through the door of her home during a chaotic search for a murder suspect. He says he accidentally fired his gun during a struggle with Aiyana’s grandmother. The family’s attorney, Geoffrey Fieger, said the settlement should allow the family, the city and Weekley to move on from the tragedy. He said the settlement “won’t provide full justice. The only full justice would be to bring Aiyana back and I can’t do that.” The settlement still needs approval from the Detroit City Council. The Michigan Supreme Court last September cleared the way for a trial or settlement when it declined to hear an appeal after two courts ruled a jury could decide whether Weekley’s actions amounted to gross negligence. Weekley was charged with involuntary manslaughter, but a judge dismissed that charge during a second trial in 2014. Chauncey Owens, whom police were searching for in the raid, was eventually arrested in a second-floor unit of the duplex where the girl and her family lived. Owens was later convicted of murder in the death of 17-year-old Je’rean Blake, who was fatally shot outside a convenience store days before the raid. The girl’s father, Charles Jones, was convicted of second-degree murder for providing the gun used to kill Blake.