Justice for 7-Year-Old Aiyana Stanley-Jones: Fire Joseph Weekley from the Detroit FBI

Justice for 7-Year-Old Aiyana Stanley-Jones: Fire Joseph Weekley from the Detroit FBI

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Sasha Ryu started this petition to Detroit Investigations Bureau

On May 16, 2010, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was shot and killed in her sleep by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley after he accidentally entered the wrong apartment in an unannounced SWAT team raid. 

Aiyana was sleeping on the couch next to her grandmother when, just after midnight, Officer Weekley’s SWAT team threw a flashbang grenade through the living room window, setting fire to the Hannah Montana blanket Aiyana was lying under. Seconds after launching the grenade, Weekley burst through the front door, fired a single bullet into Aiyana’s neck, and instantly killed the second-grader. The whole time, an A&E crew was outside, filming the squad for an episode of The First 48, a true-crime program documenting homicide detectives during the “critical first 48 hours” of murder investigations. Many have since speculated that Officer Weekley was trying to put on a show for the camera, rather than prioritizing citizens’ safety. 

After the night of the murder, Weekley attempted to direct the blame towards Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, claiming that she “grabbed his gun” and caused it to fire. However, a subsequent investigation revealed that Mertilla’s fingerprints and DNA were nowhere to be found on Weekley’s firearm. 

Mertilla Jones denies these claims outright, insisting that she was too busy trying to get Aiyana away from her burning blanket, and therefore didn’t have time to interact with any of the officers before the shooting. Another officer on the scene also provided testimony that confirmed Mertilla’s account of the incident. 

Even if Weekley’s claims had any credibility, Detroit police protocol mandates that officers only place their finger on the trigger once they’ve identified and intended to fire at their target. Whether Weekley intentionally or accidentally fired his gun, his failure to adhere to this basic code of conduct ultimately caused the unnecessary death of a seven-year-old girl. 

Although Detroit police officials claim that Weekley’s SWAT team was not briefed about the presence of children in the house, the neighborhood informant who led the detectives to the Lillibridge address informed them that children lived there. There were even toys on the front lawn. The fact that the officers used a flashbang grenade, knowing it would put children's lives in danger, is further proof that their behavior that night was grossly negligent. 

After dragging Aiyana’s family through a five-year-long court battle, Officer Weekley was released without an indictment. He returned to the police force shortly after spending half a decade on paid leave, and has since been promoted to Detroit’s Investigations Bureau – a position he is unquestionably unfit to hold.

We demand that he be removed from the line of duty immediately.

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