The jury had deadlocked in the trial of Officer Joseph Weekley who is accused of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, 7, who was shot in the head during a raid on her home. The producer for the reality show “The First 48 Hours” is also charged in the case.
Weekley, 37, was part of a raid by the Detroit Police Department’s Special Response Team, which was executing a search warrant for a murder suspect on May 16, 2010. Notably, the police invited a television crew to come along and film their raid. The presence of these crews often seems to encourage the display of force in police operations — in some cases resulting in a virtual movie set for an invasion film. In the “First 48 Hours,” you often see police officers turned into little more than cast members in maintaining the narrative and theme of the show.
In this case, the crew shows a flash-bang device exploding and about 3 seconds later a gunshot can be heard on the video played for jurors during the trial. It is not clear if the police knew, before hitting the home with a flash grenade, that there was a small child in the home. Aiyana was sleeping in the front room when police entered and shot her.
Weekley says that her grandmother touched Weekley’s gun, a claim that the grandmother says is a lie. Weekley testified that he unintentionally pulled the trigger of his gun after another person hit his weapon.
Notably, the jury could not even render a verdict on the lesser charge of careless discharge of a firearm causing death, a misdemeanor.
To make this case even more complicated, a videographer for the “The First 48,” Allison Howard, is charged with perjury and withholding video crucial to the investigation. Prosecutors allege that Howard knowingly made false statements under oath by testifying “that she did not show third parties video recordings that showed the subject of the investigation and/or that she did not provide third parties with copies of said video recordings.”
The case is being prosecuted by the office of the controversial Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy .