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May 29, 2013 |
In 2010, Detroit police in search of a murder suspect sent a SWAT team to Lillibridge Street just after midnight. The steel door to the building, as well as the lower unit's door, were both unlocked. Nonetheless, officers busted through the unlocked unit door and tossed a flash-bang grenade through the window. The grenade landed so close to seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones, who was asleep on the couch, that it burned her blanket. Within seconds, a bullet from Detroit Officer Joseph Weekly's gun pierced her head, killing her her. The murder suspect police were actually looking for lived in the upper unit, above where Aiyana slept. Now, three years later, Officer Weekly's trial is starting upwith jury selection on Wednesday. But questions about the events that led to Aiyana's death remain.
Deployment of the flash-bang grenade, which is intended to create confusion, appears to have been a sloppy decision rarely made in these kinds of raids, and may have startled Weekly into firing his gun. Moreover, the film crew of the A&E reality television show "The First 48" was at the scene, prompting speculation that the flash-bang grenade may have been used to add drama for the cameras.
Despite two different stories about what happened that night, one thing is clear: The flash-bang grenade, as is typical for these kinds of devices, created more chaos than control over the situation.