Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is coming to the police department's defense after a SWAT team member's gun went off and allegedly killed a 7-year-old girl Sunday.
"The police department is here to protect, and everybody now is pointing to the police as if they're the villains. I don't think that's the case," said Bing.
The SWAT team member whose gun allegedly killed 7-year-old Aiyana Jones, has been identified, and details about his police record have been released.
Sources have told Local 4 that Detroit Police Department SWAT team member has been identified as 34-year-old officer Joseph Weekley.
How that happened is currently under investigation by the Michigan State Police.
Police said Weekley came into contact with Aiyana?s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, when they busted through the door in the early hours of Sunday morning and his weapon accidentally fired.
Since the shooting, Weekley has been placed on a desk job.
He has been a member of the SWAT team for six years, and on the Detroit police force for 14 years, and has been profiled by the A&E show "Detroit SWAT."
He's also been cleared in a prior shooting during his time on the SWAT team that was not fatal.
Weekley is also currently named along with other SWAT members in a federal lawsuit claiming they pointed guns at children and shot two dogs during a raid in 2009 that netted a man who is now serving seven to 15 years in prison for armed robbery.
Police sources also have told Local 4 that DPD?s SWAT team has been put on hold until further notice. "The police are not just going in looking to hurt people, that's not the case at all. They're looking to protect," said Bing. Detroit Police Chief Warren Evans released a statement Tuesday that said he was extremely sorry for Aiyana's family.
He also said the department "has its own painful self-examination to undergo."
Evans added that the findings of a state police investigation into Sunday morning's death of Aiyana "won't be pretty, but they will be honest."
To read the full statement, click here.
Aiyana was shot in the living room of her home. Police have said the officer's gun discharged after an altercation or collision inside the house with the girl's grandmother.
But family attorney Geoffrey Fieger's account of the shooting contradicts the police department's account of what happened during the execution of a murder warrant at a home on Lillibridge Street at 12:50 a.m.
Assistant Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee said investigators had a search warrant for the victim's uncle, in connection with the slaying of a 17-year-old outside a liquor store on Mack Avenue Friday.
Godbee said nearly 20 officers arrived at the home and a smoke bomb was thrown in to distract the occupants, and then the first officer entered the home.
Once inside, Godbee said the first officer, identified as Weekley, was met by Jones' grandmother, Mertilla Jones.
Investigators said Mertilla Jones struggled with Weekley in the front room, just feet from where Aiyana slept on the couch.
"Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact," Godbee said.
Weekley's gun went off, striking 7-year-old Aiyana in the neck and killing her, said police.
Mertilla Jones was arrested, drug tested and released the next day.
Fieger said a police cover-up that points to the alleged altercation with the grandmother was fabricated after the girl's death to mask the truth.