Civil Rights Violations by Unwarranted No Knock Raid a Growing Police Problem
The frequency of civil rights violations carried out daily across this nation by out of control police departments is as alarming as is their sickening and shocking natures, but unwarranted no knock raids are the worst kind. Just over four years ago an innocent seven year old girl was shot in the head and killed by an over-zealous SWAT team officer in an out of control no-knock raid carried out on the wrong address in Detroit, MI.
Here’s what happened on May 16, 2010 in Detroit. A “Special Response Team”, or SRT in police lingo (don’t you love the official sounding names?) had prepared to carry out a surprise no-knock raid on a wanted man. It had been determined he was living in one half of a duplex rental unit in a Detroit neighborhood. Another family lived in the other half of the duplex.
The SWAT Team had obtained a warrant for the unit in which they had determined the wanted man was living. The big mistake the team made in their midnight raid was to raid both sides of the duplex. They did have a warrant for the address of the wanted man, but not for the innocent family who lived in the other half of the duplex.
Officers arrived in armored vehicles armed with automatic rifles and battered down the doors on both sides of the duplex. A neighbor who was outside walking his dog when the police arrived tried to warn the cops that there were children and innocent people inside the second residence the cops were about to mistakenly raid. The children’s toys all over the yard should have tipped them off too, but that neighbor was pinned to the ground and restrained by other officers while the unjust raid proceeded.
What they found inside the residence they had no authority to enter was a sleeping family – Mom, Dad, Grandma, and four young children. Grandma was asleep on the couch with her 7 year old granddaughter. The raid began and ended in tragedy in less than 30 seconds. One officer broke a window and tossed a percussion grenade inside, while others rammed the front door open. In the next 6 seconds of total confusion, the SWAT team leader, Joseph Weekley, shot and killed an innocent child.
What is worse, several hours more of mayhem and abuse ensued. Aiyana Jones, 7, was dead. Cops restrained her distraught grandmother on the floor in handcuffs and forced her to lie in the child’s blood and the broken glass from the window that has been shattered. Further abuses not only to the grandmother, but to both of the murdered child’s parents occurred over the next several hours.
Aiyana’s father was also required to lie face down in a pool of his daughter’s blood, while he pleaded for some kind of explanation for what had just happened. He was given none. Aiyana’s grieving and frightened mother was detained for several hours, forced to stay sitting sitting on the couch in the blood of their murdered daughter, after which she was transported to a facility where she was forced to undergo — a drug test!
Police at first claimed they had a rightful warrant. They can apparently do no wrong.
The suspect that the police had sought was arrested and taken into custody in the raid. He was in the other duplex unit, the side for which the police had initially obtained a signed warrant. As soon as police realized the error they had made, the police chief took action to get a CYA warrant for the second residence – after it was broken into and Aiyana was killed.
Shouldn’t we expect some admission of error from someone on the part of the police department, and not just a massive cover up of a blunder that resulted in the death of an innocent child? Shouldn’t we expect to see some kind of admission of error on the part of the officer who pulled the trigger and put a bullet through seven year old Aiyana’s brain? Shouldn’t we expect remorse from the trigger man?
Apparently, every action taken by a police raid is infallible and justified.
Four years and two mistrials later, the gunman is held unaccountable
Prior to this incident, Joseph Weekley, the officer who pulled the trigger on Aiyana, had 14 years of law enforcement experience. In 2007 he was under investigation as a member of another police raid team in which guns were pointed at children, and two family pets were shot.
Weekley also aspires to be a hero in the SWAT team raid business. A&E’s pro-police-state reality show, “The First 48”, glorifies the aggressive use of police power. The team of which Weekley was the leader in this particular raid was accompanied by a full TV crew from the show. Their video illustrates just how hyped the team was when the shooting occurred. They were in full aggression mode. Their macho police raid was, after all, going to be on TV, and they were going to be the stars!
Even more sickening is the involvement of the Chief of Police of Detroit, Warren Evans. Evans had been positioning himself to be featured in the A&E program as the lead police officer, directing cops to take back the streets of Detroit. Evans’ self aggrandizing plans backfired on May 16, 2010.
Weekley is Free. Why?
Weekly was tried in June 2013 on a charge of manslaughter. A mistrial was declared due to a hung jury. In September 2014 ,Weekley stood trial once again. The charge was reduced from manslaughter to reckless firing of a weapon causing death. Conviction would have carried a possible 2 year sentence. It didn’t matter. The jury was hung again, and another mistrial was declared. According to the system, that’s the end of legal proceedings against Weekley for this crime.
If you’re not familiar with this case, here are several relevant links filled with greater detail to build and justify your outrage. This case was big enough to be summarized in Wikipedia already.
That’s plenty to keep your blood boiling, I’m sure.