Seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed during a SWAT-style police raid in May, 2010. On Friday, the final charges against Joseph Weekley, the police officer who killed the girl, were dismissed.
Juries had failed to reach verdicts in the case two times prior, first in June 2013 and again in October 2014. Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway had previously dismissed the charge of involuntary manslaughter against the officer, citing lack of evidence. On Friday, she dismissed the second lesser charge of reckless use of a firearm. The judge's decision cannot be appealed.
The Guardian reports:
"Weekley doesn't have to pay but the family that lost a child has to pay," said Ron Scott, a spokesman for the family, shortly after attending the dismissal hearing. "I think it's abominable. I think it's evil. I think it's one of the lowest things I have ever seen."
Scott said a civil suit had been filed and an appeal made to US attorney general Eric Holder to pursue a case for the violation of Aiyana's civil rights.
Stanley-Jones was shot and killed in the middle of the night as she slept on her grandmother's couch. The home was raided in a SWAT-style operation meant to arrest her uncle who was living in the apartment upstairs. Her uncle was the primary suspect in a double homicide.
Weekley entered the home a few seconds after a "flashbang grenade" a device designed to blind and disorient. The grenade caused Stanley-Jones' blanket to catch fire.
Weekley fired one fatal shot. It went straight through the child's head. Weekley said it was an accident and accused [Stanely-Jones' grandmother] of wrestling with his gun immediately as he entered the abode, causing the fatal shot.
[The grandmother] was arrested, and though she was quickly released it was not before she and two other family members – Aiyana's parents – had been forced to sit in their child's blood for hours, Scott said.
The horrifying scene was captured by a television crew who was filming an episode of the A & E series The First 48, a true crime reality show.
Photo of Stanley-Jones' parents via AP.