DETROIT – One of the first Detroit police officers to enter a house during an ill-fated raid testified Wednesday about seeing a fatally wounded child.
Sgt. Anthony Potts of the Special Response Team briefly struggled to control his emotions. He looked down, paused several seconds, and said, "One of my officers was holding a little girl in his arms."
Potts and two other officers drove the girl to a hospital where 7-year-old Aiyana Jones died from a head wound.
The fatal shot was fired by Officer Joseph Weekley, who is on trial for involuntary manslaughter. He pulled the trigger three seconds after police detonated a flash grenade to disorient the people inside.
In spite of the tragedy, Potts called Weekley a "damned good" officer.
The defendant says he fired after Aiyana's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, came in contact with his weapon. She is expected to deny that claim in her testimony, which may come as soon as Thursday.
The Special Response Team went to the house on Lillibridge to arrest a man wanted for the murder of a 17-year-old. Police photos, taken after the raid, show toys outside the house. Two surveillance officers testified that they did not see toys. SRT officers were not aware that Aiyana and other children were inside.
Mark Robinson, who was 19 years old during the incident three years ago, lived at the house but happened to be outside when the raid began. Police held him down on the sidewalk as they entered.
"As they were running up I'm yelling that there's kids in the house," said Robinson. "They ignored me. They continued to bum rush the house."
Robinson says he heard Mertilla Jones scream, "You killed my baby! You killed Aiyana."
Defense lawyer Steve Fishman will not discuss whether Weekley will testify.
-- Joseph Weekley