DETROIT - A Detroit police officer was charged Tuesday in the death of a 7-year-old girl who was shot during a raid on her home.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Detroit Police Officer Joseph Weekley is with involuntary manslaughter and careless discharge of a firearm.
A not-guilty plea was entered for Weekley, who is a member of the Detroit Police Special Response Team.
"He knows he didn't do anything wrong," Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman, said. "He knows he was acting as a police officer in a dangerous mission."
Aiyana Stanley-Jones was killed May 16, 2010, after officers searching for a murder suspect lobbed a flash grenade through a window and stormed into her family's first-floor flat. Police had said she was sleeping on the couch when she was shot in the head after Weekley's gun fired accidentally.
A film crew with the A&E Network's "First 48" crime reality cable TV show was shadowing Detroit police on the raid. A photographer and producer for the series, New Yorker Allison Howard, is charged with perjury. Specifics on her involvement were not immediately given.
High-profile attorney Geoffrey Fieger has filed at least one wrongful death lawsuit.
"This is just not how we're supposed to run a criminal justice system," Fishman said. "Things are supposed to be out in the open."
Michigan State Police conducted a nine-month investigation and turned it over to the Wayne County Prosecutor?s Office in March.
"Regarding the duty status of Police Officer Joseph Weekley, I will forward this matter to the Board of Police Commissioners for review pursuant to the Detroit Police Department policy," Detroit Police Chief Ralph Godbee Jr. said.
The focus of the raid was Chauncey Owens, the fiance of Aiyana's aunt. Owens was wanted in the May 14, 2010, shooting death of 17-year-old Je'rean Blake outside a nearby convenience store.
Owens was found in the separate upstairs apartment. He has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
Worthy said Aiyana's father, Charles, is also facing first-degree murder and aiding and abetting charges in connection with Blake's death.
"Michigan's law is that if you aid, abet or assist in a murder, then you can be charged the same as the principal actor," Worthy said.
In response to the case, Detroit Mayor Dave Bing released the following statement:
"We respect the legal process regarding this tragic incident. Our condolences remain with all affected by this tragedy. On behalf of Chief Godbee and all of members of the Detroit Police Department, we must use this difficult moment to continue bringing our community and police department together."
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