Detroit Girl, 7, Killed in Police Raid

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

Lots of you have sent me this story.

I think it’s too early to draw any conclusions. It appears the police were looking for a homicide suspect. If they had intelligence that he posed a direct and immediate threat to others, the tactics may have been justified. On the other hand, there may have been other, less confrontational ways to apprehend him. It appears the little girl was shot by accident, and the suspect was not the cause of the gunfire. That’s a reminder of just how volatile and dangerous these raids are. Which is another argument in favor of reserving them for only those times when you have a suspect who presents a violent, imminent threat.

It’s also possible that these were perfectly appropriate tactics for the situation at hand but the SWAT team did a poor job of implementing them. That wouldn’t be something on which I’d be qualified to have an opinion.

We’ll see in coming days whether SWAT and flashbangs were an appropriate way to apprehend this particular suspect.

Sympathies to the family of Aiyana Jones. Heartbreaking.

MORE: Via “Ken” in the comments, according to this article the police were raiding both portions of a duplex. The little girl’s family says the suspect was found in the other apartment. The police are only saying that the warrant covered the entire building. According to the article, neighbors say they told police there were children in the home, and there were toys in the yard.

If that all sounds at least a little familiar, it should. Bit of a chill just went down my spine.

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102 Responses to “Detroit Girl, 7, Killed in Police Raid”

  1. #1 |  Adam | 

    Whatever the justification police may have, the story is a graphic reminder of the risks involved in sending in a SWAT team, using flash grenades in a closed space, and discharging a firearm in a residence. It’s hardly surprising that someone is dead. And if you’re going to use tactics that are liable to get someone (civilian or police) killed, there had better be one hell of a good reason – like going after a homicide suspect that you have strong evidence is armed to the teeth. NOT going after someone that you think might be growing a plant.

  2. #2 |  Frank | 

    But the good news is that all the SWATzi’s went home safe.

    –puke–

  3. #3 |  Ken | 

    I notice that in this article:

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20100516/METRO/5160325/1409/Detroit-police-fatally-shoot-7-year-old-girl

    it is mentioned that the home was a duplex and that police raided both units. The family also claims that the suspect was in the other unit.

    I don’t see mention of the home being a duplex in most of the articles, including the one Radley links to above. The police simply say the suspect was found and arrested ‘at the home’

    So, was it a duplex? If so, they may not have known, but it doesn’t look good if they are glossing over the fact in their statements about the raid.

  4. #4 |  Stephen | 

    No matter how you slice it, a cop screwed up and a kid is dead.

  5. #5 |  Ken | 

    Here’s a new article which expands a bit on the statement by the father that they ‘burned and shot’ his baby from my earlier link.

    http://www.freep.com/article/20100516/NEWS01/100516012/1318/Detroit-girl7-shot-and-killed-by-police-while-sleeping-couch

    ‘According to family members, Aiyana was sleeping on the couch, which sat near a window that faces the street. The explosive device the police threw in landed on that couch and burned her, said her father, Charles Jones’

    This one just keeps looking uglier.

  6. #6 |  SJE | 

    A homocide suspect is likely to be a higher risk than a misdemeanor possession suspect: but is he high enough to justify a SWAT team?

    For centuries people have been apprehending homocide suspects without using SWAT teams.

  7. #7 |  OB | 

    “I don’t see mention of the home being a duplex in most of the articles, including the one Radley links to above. The police simply say the suspect was found and arrested ‘at the home’ So, was it a duplex?”

    The warrant, for some reason, included both the upstairs and downstairs apartment of a duplex. Nothing I have read says why. A Detroit News story makes things look bad. It says, “[Assistant Chief] Godbee didn’t say if the suspect in Blake’s slaying was arrested in the downstairs or upstairs apartment. Godbee said, ‘The suspect was within the scope of our search warrant.” He added that the warrant allowed police to search both units.’”

    I would translate this to mean the suspect was in the other apartment, not the one where the girl was killed. Who would hedge on such a question if the answer would help justify what happened?

  8. #8 |  Ken | 

    I’d guess that they figured the suspect was on the premises, weren’t sure which unit, and decided to just hit both rather than do surveillance. I’d bet they justify that with the ‘need to move quickly to apprehend a dangerous suspect’
    Even in cases where a tactical strike team makes sense that kind of corner cutting is bad.
    Also, how the heck do you consider it ‘reasonable’ to go to a judge and say, ‘well, we figure our man is either in this apartment or this one over here, so let us raid both at 1am’

  9. #9 |  OB | 

    I tried to post a link earlier. Didn’t work. Anyway, a blog called right juris dot com has a lengthy post from what seems like a predictable but unfortunate ‘conservative’ perspective on this incident in Detroit. Specifically, even with limited facts, the author is committed to finding no fault with the police or the tactics employed. A lot of people seem to react this way to anything that sounds critical of the police. I am ever curious about what arguments might reach them.

  10. #10 |  earnest | 

    It is time that we the people stand up and fight back against the gangs of state-sponsored terrorists that have taken over our cities, and go by the Orwellian name of “peace officers”. If the only language these pigs understand is the language of violence, then this may have to be the language in which they are taught their lesson. Occupy the police sties.

  11. #11 |  Marty | 

    I can’t imagine losing my daughter because a shithead was in the duplex next door and the cops wer this aggressive. I can’t imagine the grief, the rage, and the sense of violation he must feel. this could be any of us.

    condolences to all.

  12. #12 |  Ken | 

    I really wish I hadn’t gone looking for the right juris site. Obviously facts don’t reach very far, and I doubt anything would sway them.
    The Just world fallacy is too strong, I suppose.

  13. #13 |  Ken Hagler | 

    I don’t think it’s too early to draw a conclusion as to what would happen to someone who _wasn’t_ a cop and accidentally killed a little girl while trying to stop a homicide suspect.

  14. #14 |  OB | 

    “I really wish I hadn’t gone looking for the right juris site. Obviously facts don’t reach very far, and I doubt anything would sway them.”

    A couple of lines suggest you are correct. JoAnne, the author of the post, says, “again, my opinion” and “my thoughts are my own, and what I wrote is how I see it.” A sympathetic commenter adds, “Well in our world you are right JoAnne.”

    Everyone wants to think their world view is correct, but these lines suggests the real facts don’t even really matter. I like to think I am often right, but I also like to think I am open to the possibility that I am wrong. This post seems Palinesque. It’s a made-up world, but so what?

  15. #15 |  Dave Krueger | 

    Remember, this is the phase where the press mindlessly reports everything the cops say as if it were fact. Later, as the real story begins to leak out (probably in spite of the mainstream media), we will better able to assess what really happened.

    I predict the police will let a little time pass and then claim their department was cleared by a thorough investigation.

  16. #16 |  EH | 

    Warrant covers the whole duplex = half-assed intelligence, executed haphazardly.

    “Homicide suspect,” isn’t that just cop-speak for African-American? I mean, it doesn’t really appear the suspect was trying to get out of town or anything.

    Oh well, the SWAT can be excused, they thought the little girl was a Corgi.

  17. #17 |  Gonzo | 

    Now’s the time. Us regular readers probably aren’t exactly surprised, but Cheye Calvo a piece back, and the SWAT video going viral just recently, and now this — if things are even vaguely suspect in this case, well — I hope it becomes something bigger. Ol’ Gonzo has no idea what that’d look like, or how to go about making it work. But here’s hoping.

  18. #18 |  karl | 

    Here is a link to the video from local tv showing the home, describing it as a duplex, and noting that the police killed in a different apartment than the one where they made the arrest. http://www.wxyz.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=28080@wxyz.web.entriq.net&navCatId=16

  19. #19 |  Bill | 

    From the Detroit Free Press article linked above: “I heard Boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast,” Krystal Sanders, 30, an aunt of the girl who lives at the house said outside the home. Her fiance was the man police were looking to arrest.

    Two things I notice. First of all, if Ms. Sanders was the girl’s aunt and also the suspect’s fiancee, it may not have been unreasonable for the warrant to have covered both halves of the duplex–it sounds like the residents were closely associated.

    Second, note the sequence of events that Ms. Sanders describes: FIRST, “Boom”–I’d assume the grenade; THEN, “Police!”. How hard is it to hear the announcement when you’ve just been subjected to the flashbang?

  20. #20 |  Dave Krueger | 

    There would be a lot less speculation about the nature of this raid if cops hadn’t so thoroughly established a reputation for egocentric, testosterone-fueled, recklessness.

  21. #21 |  William | 

    This is another story in which the police claim an officer’s gun “just went off,” in which officers went in armed to the teeth, in which an uninvolved house was raided as part of an overly broad warrant, and you’re still doing this conciliatory crap about how its too early to draw conclusions and that this might have been appropriate. I get it, some people love the cops and no one wants to look bad by not giving these brave heroes the deference they deserve blah, blah, blah, but when is enough enough.

    Guns don’t just go off. If a gun goes off there are only a few possibles ways it happened. The first, and by far most likely, is that the person holding the gun pulled the trigger. In order for that to happen your finger needs to be on the trigger. Thats not going off, thats shooting a gun. If a civilian does that and someone dies they get charged with murder and, if they’re lucky, are allowed to plead down to manslaughter or negligent homicide. Given the training police receive and how hard it is to accidentally pull a trigger I’d call that scenario depraved indifference unless the cop can offer proof he thought he was being shot at. The only other way a firearm is going to “just go off” is if it is a) very old and thus prone to the misfires which were more common with more primitive weapons (we’re talking about pre-WWII weapons here, for the most part), which sounds very much like the kind of negligence that really out to lead to a manslaughter charge, or b) the gun was in such poor repair that several internal safety mechanisms failed (something so spectacularly difficult to achieve that an involuntary manslaughter charge would seem the least one could reasonably expect).

    But hey, if the police say it just “went off” they’re probably right. Too early to draw conclusions. After all, they wouldn’t lie in order to protect someone who just murdered a child. God knows they wouldn’t reflexively defend someone who, in the best possible scenario, was so terribly negligent that they were responsible for a 7 year old being shot in the throat. I’m sure that a thorough internal investigation will show that the cop followed procedure, that everything was done by the book, and that this was a terrible (but ultimately unavoidable) tragedy which proves how our brave men and women in uniform need better funding and equipment with less oversight if they are to keep us safe. Hell, we might even see the suspect they were looking for charged with this girl’s death. That’ll serve justice, right?

  22. #22 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Putting this together:

    http://www.detnews.com/article/20100516/METRO/5160325/1409/Detroit-police-fatally-shoot-7-year-old-girl

    and this video:

    http://www.wxyz.com/mediacenter/local.aspx?videoid=28080@wxyz.web.entriq.net&navCatId=16

    and this story:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20100516/NEWS01/100516012/1318/Detroit-girl7-shot-and-killed-by-police-while-sleeping-couch

    A couple of relevant points:

    1. The suspect was in a different apartment than the girl who was
    killed. It’s an older house that’s been split into two units.
    Pictures at the links.
    2. The police likely lied about the lady wrestling with an officer
    when the gun went off. The lady denies it, and in the first story the
    police are backing away, too.
    3. According to the third story above, the flash bang landed on the
    little girl and she was still on fire when they shot her.
    4. The police were warned ahead of time that there were children
    present according to neighbors.

    It’s possible that a swat raid was the appropriate way to catch this
    guy. Unlikely, but possible. All considered, though, there’s a dead
    child and it is looking less and less like this was an unavoidable
    outcome.

  23. #23 |  Kevin | 

    One of my favorite rules of thumb is Scott Adam’s Weasel Principle. It’s sort of an Occam’s Razor for human behavior. It basically states that given several explanations for someone’s actions, the weasely reason is usually correct. I like to apply this to the media’s choice of headlines. Such as usatoday.com:

    Detroit officer’s gun fires, kills 7-year-old girl

  24. #24 |  OB | 

    Detroit News: “Later Sunday, police spokesman John Roach said the officer and grandmother may have simply collided.”

    It may be more Sal Culosi than Corey Maye.

  25. #25 |  MTX | 

    “Accidental discharged” Honestly, would they ever admit the truth if it were — 7 year old wakes to flash-bang thrown in lap. Burned and scared little girl jumps around hysterically, which frightens the officers entering the room. One, so much so, he puts a round into the little girl. Grandmother who was attempting to stop the officer from shooting young girl is now being blamed.

    This appears to be a case of Negligent Homicide, (at minimum). Officer allowed the barrel of his gun to aim in direction of little girl, negligence. Officer’s finger voluntarily or involuntarily pulled the trigger — just the finger being on the trigger to begin with is negligence. Even with police attempting to blame the grandmother for the officer’s gun “going off” – this officer is negligent in controlling his firearm.

    And conspiracy-to-commit charges should be applied to everyone else involved. This includes the judge who signed off on a no-knock warrant on innocent family’s dwelling – (only excuse the judge would have is if police lied when applying for the warrant – actually that is quite likely. And if it is the case, the lying officer(s) deserve a felony murder charge.)

    Of course, none of this will ever happen even if all of this happened. Investigating their own and all that.

    We all need to realize that the truth coming to light in the Kathryn Johnston case was nothing but a fluke. Police murder with impunity the vast, VAST majority of the time.

  26. #26 |  Kevin3% | 

    some thoughts to ponder:
    “deployed a distractionary device known as a flash bang” Nice way to gloss over the fact that these are percussion grenades. They can cause permanent hearing loss in adults and can kill small children and pets.

    Here is the one that really gets my attention: “high risk search warrant was approved by the prosecutor and a magistrate…..while seeking a murder warrant.” The prosecutor should have nothing to do with issuing warrants. He is involved with trying to prosecute the case and has an interest in getting his win. A magistrate is an inferior judiciary officer without the full power of a judge. Why did they not get the full warrant for a murder suspect to start with?

    Lastly, Radley, as a firearms instructor, I am convinced accidents are mechanical failures of the gun. Accidents happen very rarely. Negligent discharges are common especially among poorly trained operators. The results of negligence (in this case a dead little girl) should have consequences. Consequences should be carried personally by the offending party, the shooter, not by the taxpayers.

  27. #27 |  Jim Collins | 

    I’ll go along with negligence on the part of the cop, but, no one mentions the SOB who caused the event in the first place. This raid wasn’t a mistake, the person they wanted for murder was there. I believe that he bears some of the responsibility for what happened.

  28. #28 |  Marty | 

    I understand what you’re saying, Jim, BUT… The 4th amendment is routinely violated for ‘officer safety’ and to ‘preserve evidence’ by using dynamic entries. This happens 100 to 150 times a day. The ‘SOBs’ aren’t going away. Hopefully, we find a better way to pick them up- one that increases everyone’s safety and doesn’t violate anyone’s rights. Instead of trying to be special forces, cops should try to be police officers. Knock on the door and give citizens the chance to respond. This girl, Kathryn Johnson, the baby in Lima, and others, were all killed because of how the warrants were executed.

    As a society, we shouldn’t be losing our freedoms because of administrative policies police departments have for warrant service.

  29. #29 |  pc | 

    Detroit News: “Later Sunday, police spokesman John Roach said the officer and grandmother may have simply collided.”

    So when you throw a flash bang into an apartment at 1 a.m. and bust in with guns drawn, you might collide with someone? Shocking.

  30. #30 |  flukebucket | 

    Looks like somebody is going to get a two week paid vacation.

  31. #31 |  J sub D | 

    @ #16 | EH | May 16th, 2010 at 10:25 pm

    “Homicide suspect,” isn’t that just cop-speak for African-American? I mean, it doesn’t really appear the suspect was trying to get out of town or anything.

    This was a genuine bad guy. He appaerntly gunned down a 17 year old HS student because he didn’t like the way the young man was looking at him.

    I think this might have contributed the rush to make an arrest -

    Film crews with A&E’s “The First 48″ reality show, which follows police departments nationwide during the crucial 48 hours after a homicide is committed, were taping the team for a documentary.

  32. #32 |  pegr | 

    Rule three of four: Keep your booger hook off the bang button!

    Every firearm accident relates to a violation of one of the four rules:

    1. All firearms are loaded.
    2. Do not point a weapon at anything you are not willing to destroy.
    3. Keep your finger off the trigger until your eyes are on the target.
    4. Know what’s behind your target.

  33. #33 |  Red Green | 

    These mini-Waco’s are happening with such frequency. I’m beginning to think that maybe the authorities hope we will just get used to it and move on. They should ‘think’ again.When police safety trumps public safety we citizens lose. The judge’s that are stamping these warrant’s need to be held accountable…at the ballot box.

  34. #34 |  Dave Krueger | 

    When the cops conduct a raid, I don’t think they ask themselves if anyone is likely to be unnecessarily hurt or killed. I think the only thing the cops consider is whether any of them are likely to be hurt or killed.

    For all practical purposes, there just aren’t any repercussions for them if a bystander gets shot. How humans behave is largely determined by what consequences they can expect in return. Cops are shielded from those consequences except under the most extraordinary circumstances.

  35. #35 |  Dave W. | 

    I wish the family had a better spokesperson. When the police offered to “help,” the response should have been: “We want copies of all the video and audio NOW — before you have a chance to tamper with it. We also need you to stop saying negative things about any of our family members to the press, NOW.”

  36. #36 |  SJE | 

    Jim: yep, the SOB does bear some responsibility. That said, the mere fact that an SOB is somewhere in the vicinity, or related to you, is insufficient justification for extreme use of force. Extreme force is only appropriate for extreme threats, and not every SOB is an extreme threat. Should we use tanks on Bernie Madoff? SOB?: yes. Dangerous to the life of cops?: no. Even homicide suspects. Hit and run is homicide: does it justify SWAT. In this case, the fact that the SOB is related to all the other people in the duplex might suggest that he would be less likely to take hostages. Where is the evidence that he is a risk to others: the killing might have been an isolated incident, even self defense. Also remember, he is a SUSPECT. You don’t justify killing people merely because they are suspects: potentially force is only justified because of some greater necessity.

    So, all in all, he may be an SOB, and he may be guilty, and he may bear some responsibility. But remember, we pay and train police to be responsible: they are supposed to be the grown ups. If the ‘grown ups’ are not behaving responsibly, how do we expect the ‘kids’ to do so?

  37. #37 |  SJE | 

    Dammit: sorry for my typos, missed punctuation and words! Need more coffee.

    I suspect that the presence of an A&E show is a bigger factor than the cops are willing to admit: everyone wants to look like a hero. Again, where are the grown ups saying “wait,” to be sure that proper procedures are being followed (proper as in real world, not “proper procedures” as in CYA cop-speak). Is anyone asking the hard questions of A&E?

  38. #38 |  Dante | 

    #34

    “Cops are shielded from those consequences except under the most extraordinary circumstances.”

    Exactly, Dave. Judges too.

    Until our criminal justice system can be trusted to punish criminal acts by its own players, there is no justice in our criminal justice system.

    Only criminals.

    Protect & Serve (Themselves!)

  39. #39 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Re: #25

    Grandmother who was attempting to stop the officer from shooting young girl is now being blamed.

    It’s even more nefarious than that. They actually charged her and I think even jailed her as part of the ruse. So now there’s false arrest on top of the rest of it.

  40. #40 |  johnl | 

    The word probable has a meaning in standard English and in math, more likely than not. It’s impossible that he was more likely than not upstairs and more likely than not downstairs. What do judges mean by probable?

  41. #41 |  Tolly | 

    Can’t wait for this episode to air on A&E!
    And I mean that in all seriousness. It would be great to have them actually follow through and show the dark side of these types of raids: use of overwhelming force is the norm, there is no margin of error, and people/dogs frequently die who have nothing to do with the suspect/offense. Instead we get more COPS/Dallas SWAT/Ladies of Law Enforcement reality television nonsense that shows nothing but the swaggering military bravado and none of it’s unintended effects on civilians unlucky enough to be near the crosshairs.

  42. #42 |  William | 

    Kevin @26 said: “Consequences should be carried personally by the offending party, the shooter, not by the taxpayers.”

    More often than not, I would agree with you. Not in cases like this, however. The fact of the matter is that this cop was in a position to be negligent only because he was a government employee, his negligence happened in the context of doing his job and was both fostered and enabled by his employer. Two branches of local government approved this raid, it happened under the aegis of either poor training or a complete disregard for the rights and safety of citizens, and is part of a larger pattern of abuse and neglect shown by law enforcement across the nation.

    Should the cop be held personally responsible, both financially and criminally? Yeah. Should the taxpayers also suffer a significant burden when one of their employees is asked to do something irresponsible and ends up doing something unconscionable? You bet your ass. Thats the only way the state will ever be encouraged to exercise any oversight over the routine misbehavior of it’s employees, something it has already proven unable to do. Everyone involved needs to be charged and every level of government with a hand in the raid (along with the private company which appears to have made the situation more volatile through filming) needs to be held financially responsible. That financial responsibility ought to be grave enough that it is felt by the guilty parties. A police department would behave more carefully if they knew the outcome of a case like this was a judgment harsh enough to require every officer to take a week’s worth of furlough days, make the department crack down on overtime, and stop them from buying new toys for a few years.

  43. #43 |  Miradus | 

    I think we need an organized effort to get A&E and all these other cable channels to stop promoting and glamorizing the police state. They are culpable in the rise of militarized law enforcement.

  44. #44 |  Jim Collins | 

    Marty, SJE,
    I’m in complete agreement with you. You have to wonder though, that if the police took a different approach things might have ended up worse. If it wasn’t for the negligence of that one officer, their plan would have worked out. A different approach may have created a hostage situation or missed the guy entirely. Right now everybody is bitching at the cops because of the girl being killed, what would the result be if they had missed the guy and he killed somebody else? Pretty much the same, in my opinion.

  45. #45 |  Samk | 

    To be honest, I think what Jim is saying is similar to what Radley said in his post…that we need to wait (for additional info) to see if the use of SWAT was justified.

    Dangerous violent criminal apprehension is one use of SWAT I might agree with, and it might actually be difficult to catch him on his way out of the house without him pulling his own gun….I’m betting that’s not the issue, but I’ll give it a day or two of devil’s advocate.

  46. #46 |  SJE | 

    Jim: this is the reasoning offered by law enforcement all the time. “We had to act else worse would have happened.” Really?

    We have a unprovable counterfactual of harm potentially avoided versus actual evidence of harm generated. Moreover, the harm generated in SWAT raids are those that the police frequently refuse to confront or share with the public and so we really don’t know the numbers. How many dogs and innocent people are killed, homes destroyed? What is the property damage, irrespective of whether a suspect is nabbed. Are the police entitled to do tens of thousands in damage and kill the dogs for a midemeanor pot possession with a fine of at most a few hundred dollars? (See Columbia, MO) The system does not count police damage if drugs are found, but any economist would tell you that this is the sort of bad accounting that leads to bad policies.

    Do we have any evidence that the suspect in this case would likely kill again? A lot of homicides are accidents or crimes of passion: hit over the head during an argument, etc. They are not the sort of killers that pose a frequent danger to the public and police. Of course, if you confront suspects in a SWAT raid, you might get that sort of response, creating GREATER, not lesser danger to the police (see many cases on this site, such as Ryan Frederick).

    “Special Weapons and Training” (SWAT) officers should be elite forces, not just hot=heads. The evidence points to the latter: look at the poor markmanship skills, poor planning (e.g. everyone entering at the same door), poor discipline, etc in many raids.

  47. #47 |  Jack | 

    The SWAT issue seems immaterial to me. It’s not somehow More Okay for a police officer to shoot a child during a tactical entry.

  48. #48 |  Marty | 

    #44 Jim Collins-

    ‘You have to wonder though, that if the police took a different approach things might have ended up worse…’

    I think they were lucky more harm wasn’t done. Like other instances documented on this site, cops could’ve been killed, even more family members could’ve been killed, the house could’ve burned down, etc.

    This was HORRIBLE, but it could’ve been much worse. These actions happened because of ‘policy’- not an individual’s negligence. As a group, they threw a flash grenade into a house they KNEW had children and family members present. Imagine the chaos if there would’ve been dogs present…

    They need a new policy- this could happen to any of us.

  49. #49 |  Mattocracy | 

    @ 44,

    The SWAT Team is going after a murderer, I get it. That doesn’t mean they get to murder as well in order to get said muderer. Two innocent people are dead in this scenario where previously there had only been one. Our law enforcement isn’t supposed to make things worse.

    Unfortunately, that’s how most government agencies work. So often, people will bitch about the lazy and ineffective manner that post office, DMV, and other agency personel operate. The police are no different. Except that the postmen and DMV workers rarely kill people when they fuck up.

  50. #50 |  Cynical in CA | 

    “At about this time, the officer’s weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area.”

    So I was wrong after all. Guns, not people, kill people. My bad.

  51. #51 |  impunity | 

    i was making the point to a friend just the other day – that what do we do when guys like Madoff or other drug kingpins get indicted ? we ask them to turn themselves in. i’m not saying this could have been done in this case, but i think it further illustrates the disparity in the dispensation of law enforcement – a huge injustice that poor people have to swallow every day. . . we ASK for the rich to turn themselves in, and STORM into the homes of the poor, guns blaring. maybe not so much for Noriega, but lets not count that one. regardless, how about getting rid of these army men in police uniforms. the line is too blurred these days. go straight from the army to iraq to police force in your city, ready to throw grenades in your house ??? !!!! WTF.

  52. #52 |  Dave W. | 

    The plot thickens:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20100517/NEWS01/100517037/1003/Fieger-The-shot-was-fired-from-outside-Aiyana-home

  53. #53 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #51 Dave W.

    The plot thickens:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20100517/NEWS01/100517037/1003/Fieger-The-shot-was-fired-from-outside-Aiyana-home

    Not to worry. The cops will just go into a huddle and try and concoct a new story that fits the newly revealed video. Happens all the time.

    Cops: “Well, in light of this new information, what we really meant to says was…”

    Mainstream media: “Steadfast investigative work on the part of the police department was followed up by a more detailed report on what happened…”

    O’Reilly, Hannity, Malkin, Coulter: “Civilians are going to get killed when the bad guys hide among them. It can’t be helped. Just look at what’s happening in Iraq…”

  54. #54 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #51 Dave W.

    The plot thickens:

    http://www.freep.com/article/20100517/NEWS01/100517037/1003/Fieger-The-shot-was-fired-from-outside-Aiyana-home

    Today, [Assistant Chief] Godbee refused to comment on Fieger’s allegations and many other swirling questions because the state police have taken over the investigation.

    Oh, yeah. I’m sure the state police will bring an infinite amount of objectivity and integrity into the mix….

  55. #55 |  Shell Goddamnit | 

    Well, Fieger. Not exactly an unimpeachable source. If he’s even close to right the situation is murkier than ever…why were the cops shooting while there were cops in the place? If no cops in the place & they were just shooting up the joint, then… that is murder.

  56. #56 |  Dave W. | 

    Well, Fieger. Not exactly an unimpeachable source. If he’s even close to right the situation is murkier than ever…why were the cops shooting while there were cops in the place? If no cops in the place & they were just shooting up the joint, then… that is murder.

    The most obvious explanation is that they threw in the grenade, it landed on the girl and she got up into some kind of position where her head could be seen through the window so the popo shot it.

    We’ll be interesting to see what the official story will be.

  57. #57 |  Boyd Durkin | 

    Any reality TV show video will be erased by mistake.

    I’d like to see Dep. Chief Roach really support an open investigation by allowing a non-state investigation.

    Officers entered the wrong side of the duplex and killed a girl (facts admitted to by the police department). They entered a home illegally and a death resulted. Let’s hope a very strong lawyer takes this case and rapes that police department.

    Let’s also hope that the standard lies on the police report are punished as well.

    I’ll now go hope to win the lottery.

  58. #58 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #57 Boyd Durkin

    Any reality TV show video will be erased by mistake.

    You make a good point, Boyd. If the TV folks want to continue getting the cooperation of the cops in order to produce lucrative shows like that, they are going to be under a lot of pressure to “play along”.

  59. #59 |  Chris Mallory | 

    #51

    We had a case like that recently. Cops looking for a murder suspect. Choose to not stake out his parent’s house. Instead bust in and rough up the kid’s step-father. They got to play “Super Hero Swat Team”. The family had damage done to their house. The step father got a trip to the hospital. The suspect was no where to be found. They did catch him a couple days later. They called his cell phone and he turned himself in.

  60. #60 |  lunchstealer | 

    I agree with Mattocracy that the police handling of this situation doubled the number of innocent victims.

    I will point out, however, this bit from both articles:

    “I heard: Boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast,” said Krystal Sanders, 30, an aunt of the girl who lives at the house. Her fiancé was the man police were looking to arrest.

    :( I’d hate to be the person who brought someone into the home, who then attracted a police raid that ended with my niece being shot to death. (If he actually was guilty of the murder that sparked the whole thing, then so much the worse.)

  61. #61 |  William | 

    #55

    Why the equivocation? If the allegation is correct the situation is not “murkier than ever,” its actually pretty clear. A police officer murdered a child who posed no threat to him. Theres nothing murky about that, this doesn’t muddy the water or create extra variables that make the case harder to get a handle on. If you fired a round at an unarmed, burning child with a wall between the two of you you would be on first degree murder charges right now.

  62. #62 |  Lew | 

    If the cops in Fairfax County Va could find a way to excuse the “Master Policeman” who killed Salvatore Culosi from any wrong doing they can find a way for any cop to kill any citizen during any SWAT team entry. Doesn’t matter who the victim was, how old or infirm they may have been or what they were doing at the moment they were shot. It’s never gonna be the cops fault. Simple as that so move on, peasants.

  63. #63 |  Dante | 

    Very telling bit of information, if it is correct.

    ““I heard: Boom! Detroit police! Pop! It happened so fast,” said Krystal Sanders, 30, an aunt of the girl who lives at the house. Her fiancé was the man police were looking to arrest.”

    So, the “Boom” was the flash-bang grenade.

    Next came the shout of “Detroit Police” as they got ready to break down the door.

    Last, the “Pop” was the gun going off and killing the little girl.

    Notice what was missing? The “Crash” of the door being broken.

    They shot the girl through the door, or through the wall, before they went in.

    Like cowards. Not heroes. Not tough guys. Cowards.

  64. #64 |  Maria | 

    If true, the fact that they can raid a whole structure with multiple separate units is what makes it, in my eye, military tactics and not police work. If they had so much intel they should have known that there would be kids and that there where two units, even if they where illegal units.

    Simply another example of military tactics against civilians.

    Truly scary and tragic implementation of “throw everything against the wall and see what sticks”. And then they wonder why the people in the area don’t trust the cops.

  65. #65 |  Frank | 

    Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said, “If Mr. Fieger has access to any evidence in this case, he must as an officer of the court provide it immediately to the Michigan State Police.”

    so that it can be destroyed

  66. #66 |  Leonson | 

    What really gets me is that they were going after a suspect. Not an escaped convicted murderer that might be harbored in the home, but a suspect.

    Did they even try knocking and asking if he was there? Was that considered to be too dangerous for a suspect?

    Heck, surround the house and then call and ask if he’s home. Leave a detective’s phone number. Wait for him to bolt and pick him up outside.

    Or try approaching it as if he’s a witness, not a criminal.

    Subterfuge usually works better than brute force, and it rarely gets 7 year old girls killed.

  67. #67 |  supercat | 

    //3. According to the third story above, the flash bang landed on the
    little girl and she was still on fire when they shot her.//

    Concussion grenades which land too close to people are likely to cause serious bodily harm (including but not limited to permanent severe hearing damage). The officer who threw the grenade without ensuring that it would land in a clear area should at minimum be prosecuted for reckless endangerment; unless the warrant authorized preemptive use of a concussion grenade, anyone involved in the raid that was aware of such planned preemptive use should be prosecuted for robbery and felony murder.

  68. #68 |  matt | 

    A new Washington Post story talks about this raid being on video tape. The attorney quoted claims the police shot the girl from outside the home on the porch immediately after tossing the percussion grenade into the home.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/17/AR2010051700703.html?sub=AR

    Is there anything that would justify opening fire before making entry into the target residence besides first taking fire from someone inside?

  69. #69 |  patriot | 

    The police in this country have become too militarized. And now they are shooting innocent people all the time. Nothing ever happens to the cops, a slap on the wrist. It’s time to do something about it. Anyone on a jury for a non vilonent offender vote NOT GUILTY. Anyone on a jusry for someone accused of shooting a cop vote NOT GUILTY

  70. #70 |  pc | 

    Is there anything that would justify opening fire before making entry into the target residence besides first taking fire from someone inside?

    The police officer heard a loud bang after he lobbed the flashBANG grenade inside and thought someone shot at him.

  71. #71 |  ALowe | 

    “Is there anything that would justify opening fire before making entry into the target residence besides first taking fire from someone inside?”

    The house was behaving in a threatening manner.

  72. #72 |  The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack | 

    For all the crap the spokesman is spewing about how this is a “cop’s worst nightmare”, etc, etc, I didn’t see any actual apologies from the spokesman or the officer.

    Lots of deflection of responsibility, though: “At about this time, the officer’s weapon discharged one round”.

    A police officer accidentally shot and killed a 7 year old girl. I don’t know any of the specifics, but it is safe to say that that’s a pretty big fuckup. The only decent thing he can do is to publicly and sincerely apologize.

  73. #73 |  Cass | 

    The officer flinched when the grenade went off, and he fired his weapon.

  74. #74 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #72 The Johnny Appleseed Of Crack

    For all the crap the spokesman is spewing about how this is a “cop’s worst nightmare”, etc, etc, I didn’t see any actual apologies from the spokesman or the officer.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah. They do that every time. It’s supposed to make us all feel sorry for the poor cop who has to live with himself after having taken the life of an innocent bystander (whereas, the worst is already over for the innocent bystander). That spewing forth of sad-eyes propaganda is enough to make one upchuck his dinner.

    Any way you slice it, that 7 year old kid is a lot worse off than that cop, so I don’t have a lot of pity for the guy who blew his ass away, especially in light of the fiction they tried to foist on the public about how it happened.

    They fucked up. They know they fucked up. And the honorable thing to do would be to admit they fucked up and throw themselves on the mercy of the public. But, since being honorable is not in their nature, it’s fortunate for them that the public tends to swallow their lame explanations and sorrowful pleadings without question because, after all, these are the good guys…

  75. #75 |  Dacey | 

    #72:

    Any attorney will tell you, never ever apologize, as that has often been ruled to be an admission of guilt.

  76. #76 |  GreginOz | 

    http://www.smh.com.au/world/reality-tv-show-filmed-police-raid-that-ended-in-shooting-of-girl-20100518-vapk.html

    This is a link to a Sydney Morning Herald story in Sydney, Australia. What a pack of murdering cunts…

  77. #77 |  CharlesWT | 

    “At about this time, the officer’s weapon discharged one round”.

    Those damn freewill pistols will get you in trouble every time!

  78. #78 |  Laura Victoria | 

    74, I was just about to post the SMH story. I don’t think a terribly misogynistic term is really appropriate here. How about just go old-school and call them pigs or scumbags.

    Jeff Fieger, by the way, was attorney for Kevorkian. I had bad vibes about this case as soon as it came on the news, and I heard the passive voice about the gun going off by it’s little old self. Funny that police spokesperson concluded “accident” before doing an investigation.

    Doubt this video will be destroyed.

  79. #79 |  Sinchy | 

    So if they knew there were children known to live in the house, why didn’t the police conduct the raid at around 1pm when those kids would be at school?
    That seems reasonable, right?
    And since this was a family house, and the suspect wasn’t actively running from the police I really think a phone call may have led the suspect to give him self up. Maybe not, but at least the kids may have been evacuated.
    In this situation, why not have a lawyer call the house and explain to the suspect or his family that he is wanted and that turning himself in would be the best way to handle the situation?
    I am convinced that in most cases there are non-confrontational and creative ways to apprehend suspects.
    This raid was a failure on so many levels

  80. #80 |  qwints | 

    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=10663639

    “The police department says it is trying to acquire the video.”

    Good news?

  81. #81 |  Michael Chaney | 

    Bad news. They’re trying to acquire it so they can destroy it. I hope the attorney has already filed for an injunction prohibiting the tv show from destroying it or handing the originals over to the defendants.

  82. #82 |  Dave W. | 

    They are trying to acquire it so that they can build a house of lies minimally consistent with what is on the video.

    Fieger’s answer to the Detroit popos challenge should be this:

    “First, you have no idea whether I have handed the video over to the state police because they are an independent investigating agency and will not share that info with you until their investigation is over, assuming that their investigation has any integrity. second, it is critical that none of your guys see the video until all of your police witnesses go on record with what they THINK happened, prior to having their recollection refreshed by the videos.”

  83. #83 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Karl Denninger makes a foray into the subject:

    http://market-ticker.denninger.net/archives/2327-One-City-Where-Citizens-Will-Not-Assist-UPDATED.html

  84. #84 |  Cynical in CA | 

    From the SMH article:

    “The police department is understaffed, and officers have said they feel vulnerable — especially after one patrolman was killed and four others were wounded during a gunfight with a suspect in a vacant home earlier this month.”

    Poor babies. They should oughtta find themselves a line of work more in keeping with the yellow streaks running down their pants.

  85. #85 |  Yizmo Gizmo | 

    “… if they knew there were children known to live in the house, why didn’t the police conduct the raid at around 1pm when those kids would be at school?That seems reasonable, right?”

    Yeah, right. Do you realize what a detrimental effect that would have on TV ratings? This was a show.
    So naive.

  86. #86 |  Cynical in CA | 

    Excellent recap of the week’s police atrocities by Rad Geek Charles Johnson, with copious mention of our host.

    http://radgeek.com/gt/2010/05/18/lethal-force/

    What I want to type, I cannot, because it would be considered a threat by the wrong people. That is what Amerika has come to. I’m disgusted.

  87. #87 |  Dacey | 

    Just wanted to point out that the SMH articles are just the same AP (Associated Press) articles that are on every other web site.

  88. #88 |  Toastrider | 

    Fools. Damned fools.

    You know, all I can think of is a story from the Lawdog site where the sheriff and his deputies execute a search warrant on a suspected meth lab. Their tactic? Stage a distraction out front to lure the meth-heads out, and then slip in to secure it while they’re busy.

    Said distraction involved Lawdog in a hot pink gorilla suit, belting out ‘Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap’.

    Now, while the story is quite humorous, it illustrates a point that certain folks in uniform seem to have missed: sometimes a cool hand and head are better than going in guns hot.

    A shame they don’t grasp the theory.

  89. #89 |  Melinda Wallace | 

    This incident does deserve the thorough investigation, but, it officers were negligent, charges of negligent homicide must be filed. Officers are NOT above the law.

  90. #90 |  Dad in Dakota | 

    Lets see if I have this right. The cops were warned that there were children in the apartment building. They knew it was a duplex with more than one residence and yet they raided the entire house. The cops admitted to throwing a flash band grenade, breaking down the door and yet they want us to believe that the gun went off accidently? after they had gone in like they were in a war zone?

    I don’t buy it. The video reportedly shows them firing into the residence before entering. if the video shows this too be true, it’s cold blooded murder no matter how anybody attempts to defend the actions of the Detroit police.

    Also, guns don’t go off accidently. Especially police fire arms. They must first be drawn from a secure holster, the safety is then released, finger on the trigger and fired. Second, the cop who fired his weapon was involved in another shooting just weeks earlier at another residence. This is called repetitive behavior in my book.

    All in all, an innocent seven year old child is dead because law enforcement was totally concerned for their own safety, and not for the public they are supposed to protect. Which is backwards. Uniform military and law enforcement are expendable because it’s their job to protect and if necessary, give their lives doing so and not killing innocent children to protect their own skin.

  91. #91 |  Cass | 

    One of the Detroit papers is reporting that the officer who shot the child is being sued over another raid in which the dogs were shot and firearms trained on children and an infant in the house.

  92. #92 |  Cynical in CA | 

    #91 | Cass — “One of the Detroit papers is reporting that the officer who shot the child is being sued over another raid in which the dogs were shot and firearms trained on children and an infant in the house.”

    Sounds like this cop would be more at home in Gaza.

  93. #93 |  johnl | 

    Yesterday there was an online resume for the officer who fired the shot. In it he’s described as an APC driver, which might shed some light on how he viewed his job. He’s 5 foot 3. Textbook “small dog aggression”.

    Of course the real problem is with whoever ordered this insane raid.

  94. #94 |  Cynical in CA | 

    And authorized it.

    How exactly does one become a magistrate anyway?

  95. #95 |  johnl | 

    In the San Diego Examiner’s “stay at home mother” column, Corinna Craddock comments on the Detroit case and provides some insight based on her own participation at age 12 in a flashbang home invasion raid. Seriously a *must* read.

    http://www.examiner.com/x-33016-San-Diego-Motherhood-Examiner~y2010m5d19-Detroit-police-who-burnt-and-shot-7yearold-Aiyana-Jones-will-face-law-suit-victims-father-says

  96. #96 |  johnl | 

    This is A&E’s bio of the officer who Fox is saying fired the shot.
    http://www.aetv.com/dallas_swat/dswat_castDetroit.jsp?index=8&type=actor

    The bio makes him sound like a real creep but it is A&E’s bio, not his own resume.

  97. #97 |  murdiddlyurderer | 

    Felony murder did someone say? The only person likely to get felony murder in this case is the suspect that the police were chasing. He should have known that the fuzz would blow away a 7-year old girl, they will say. He is responsible for everything bad that happens as a result of his crime, no matter what it is, that’s the ridiculous law, that’s what it says.

  98. #98 |  sharita ulmer of JC | 

    it’s a shame that the police takes the wrong method that caused a young innocent life of a child that did not have any knowledge what so ever of what was going on. god bless the child, my heart goes out to the family, and the police officer who act on this matter have to live with his self for the rest of his life, boy! i sure hope he can sleep at night, cause that was wrong is two left shoes. take precaution in a better way, better yet resign, or better than that just fire him now! before he fire at someone else. this was a wrongful death, and now the family have to live without that precious little innocent child who made to heaven. that cop should go right to hell.

  99. #99 |  corinna craddock | 

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-33016-San-Diego-Motherhood-Examiner~y2010m5d21-San-Diego–Insight-into-the-Detroit-raid-that-killed-Aiyana-StanleyJones

  100. #100 |  corinna craddock | 

    The link is to my article that describes what it is like living through one of these bombs and what happens to the residence when one explodes.

    http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-33016-San-Diego-Motherhood-Examiner~y2010m5d21-San-Diego–Insight-into-the-Detroit-raid-that-killed-Aiyana-StanleyJones (Thanks John)

  101. #101 |  corinna craddock | 

    http://wwww.examiner.com/x-33016-San-Diego-Motherhood-Examiner~y2010m8d5-San-Diego–For-children-like-Aiyana-Jones-family-means-being-born-into-the-wrong-place-and-time

  102. #102 |  Agitated | 

    Wake Up

    I really do not understand how sheeple react to death, and clearly injustice. The police lied, and killed a little girl with no care. First the little girl was lit up with a incendiary device, and then shot from outside. The police lied about this, and it would have been interesting if the video crew were not there to see them lie like usual.

    The disregard for safety because these people are poor or black. We are the same people, and 1% DNA different from a chimp. Still there should be an eye for an eye, to quote the bible. In old wild west movies, people got revenge and killed those that killed their loved ones. The police have snipers, and so do the supposed villains. You have people with high powered rifles that shoot from huge 1 mile distances, and are never found. One example is the DC sniper. In other words, anybody can kill anybody else right or wrong, and yet there are many that don’t exercise your right to bear arms, or get revenge for the wrongs done to them. What do people have to lose anymore. I am really trying to understand this world, so please tell me what I am missing.

    Look at those that have been wrongfully accused and sentenced for 30 plus years, and then are released. Their lives are over, and they do nothing. Psychologically there should be reactions from going postal to running away from the US after winning a hefty settlement. Instead they stay here afraid and allow the system to keep them beat down. They cannot even find jobs even though they are innocent because they are part of the system, ridiculous.

    Now I am not condoning violence here, but I am tired of bloggers just talking their problems to death. You never do anything. What about when killers like Columbine happened. Why did none of the parents go after the parents when they lost their children. Why is not everyone armed, and if police or anyone tries to infringe on your rights in the name of whatever you make them think twice even if you die in a shootout. Why do some people own guns, but never fully practice with them. If you do not even the playing field, or at least protect yourself, you deserve to die like rats.

    At least cost your corrupt city money until it goes bankrupt, or each election vote to remove police, politicians and city workers. You could even vote that they have no firearms. If they want the job, they can take it or leave it. There is no reason that police cannot use non-lethals, and take their toys away. It is your city. Force your police to have cameras on them 24-7, and do cop watches of police until they are cleaned up. It is a coward who goes into a profession to bully people. It is also ungodly to treat another human being like you are playing a video game.

    You people need to really start thinking for yourself. I am leaving this country since we are laughing stock of the world with the highest prison rate in the world. I really do not care anymore who inherits this God Forsaken America.

    My heart truly goes out to the family of the little girl, and I saw the grandmother crying her heart out. She definitely wanted revenge, and I am sure this tragedy will destroy what life she had left.

    Justice

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