This cop won’t get away with murder

December 6, 2012

Detroit police murdered 7-year-old Aiyana Jones on May 16, 2010, during a midnight raid on her family's home, while a reality television crew filmed the whole thing. The police stormed into the house, claiming a murder suspect was hiding out there. Officers threw a flash grenade through the window of the living room, where Aiyana and her grandmother, Mertilla Jones, were asleep together on a couch. Officer Joseph Weekley then fired his gun, killing Aiyana.

That night, Mertilla was taken to the police station, drug-tested and questioned. Police accused her of trying to wrestle a gun out of Weekley's hands. Tests for gunpowder residue, however, came back negative.

It took almost a year and a half for Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran to charge Weekley with involuntary manslaughter. Since then, Weekley's trial has been repeatedly delayed. A date was recent set for April 2013, but Weekley will get a pre-trial hearing on dismissing the charges, to be held in March.

Meanwhile, Charles Jones, Aiyana's father, faces first-degree murder charges, having been accused of providing the weapon for the murder police were investigating the night of the raid. Charles has been held in jail without trial for almost two years since he was arraigned--despite the fact that the only evidence against him was ruled out as hearsay last May. In an even more Orwellian twist, Robert Moran is prosecuting Charles Jones, too.

Mertilla Jones spoke with Aaron Petcoff about the two cases--and about her family's ongoing struggle for justice.

COULD YOU tell us about Aiyana?

AIYANA WAS a smart little girl. Smart as a whip. She had a special mind.

From the day she was born, we had Aiyana everywhere. Everywhere we went, we had that baby with us. People that I know from when I was having my kids asked me, "Are you still having kids?" That's how much Aiyana clung to me. I was there basically from moment that she came into the world until the moment she left.

CAN YOU tell us what happened that night when Aiyana was killed?

I HAVE two couches in my front room. Me and Aiyana were together on one by the window in the living room. My sister was on the other one. I had just laid down, and then the flash grenade came through the window. I didn't even know what it was, but I got off the couch and hit the floor. It all happened at the same time. The flash bang went off. Then they yelled, "Detroit police!" and they started kicking in my door. All at the same time, in seconds.

So I'm laying there, spread out on the floor after they announced themselves as cops. I tried to tell them my grandbaby's right there. Then, boom. I guess Aiyana had jumped because of the flash bang.

Mertilla Jones speaking to reporters following a pre-trial hearing in October
Mertilla Jones speaking to reporters following a pre-trial hearing in October

They shot my baby. Her eyes flew open. Blood started coming out of her mouth. I started pounding on the floor, near all the glass from the broken window. I cussed them out. "You all fucked up! You killed my baby! I know she's gone!" They killed my baby. And I had to watch the light and the life move out of her eyes.

I knew she was gone. I knew she was. They picked her body up by her arms and legs like she was a rag doll and they put her in the back of a police car. And then they came in, and they didn't waste any time. They started blaming me. I've never tried to wrestle a gun from anyone. I wish I had now, since I'm being blamed for it.

They're saying the officer made a mistake because he was stunned by the flash bang. But he's trained to go into situations like that. I watch the programs. These police are trained to go into that smoke and not let it bother them. They want to say that I pushed his ass, and the flash-bang disoriented him, and that's why he shot Aiyana. He's full of shit.

That night, they made Charles crawl out of the bedroom on his hands and knees to the couch, where they had just picked his daughter up like she was a dog. Her brain matter was still there. He asked me, "Mom, where's my baby? Where's my baby?" I told him, "They killed your baby girl, Charles. They killed her, and that's her brain and blood that they got you in."

We used to call 911 back in the day, up until Aiyana was murdered. I use that phrase. Because she was murdered. They walked up to our house and murdered her on the couch.

CAN YOU talk about the case against Charles?

MY SON has been in jail for over a year. In the last month, they just started offering him medication for his nerves that can help him sleep at night. They haven't offered him any counseling.

Joseph Weekley can just go home every night with his children. He can come and go as he pleases. And my son doesn't even have a little girl on this Earth anymore. My son is facing a first-degree murder charge. And Weekley is being charged with a much lower charge. He's facing manslaughter. Now they're talking about dismissing the charges.

I'm angry, but I'm going to try to remain calm, because I don't want my blood pressure to go up.

HOW HAVE the police and courts responded to this?

THE JUDGE, the prosecutor and Weekley's lawyer--they're all buddy-buddy. They all work in the same environment. But they're not for my family. They all have my son tried and convicted already, and he hasn't even been to trial.

They say innocent until proven guilty. But for my son, they have him guilty already, and he has to prove his innocence. That's not right. He's being denied his constitutional right to be innocent until proven guilty. They got it twisted.

And it's sad that people are forgetting about my 7-year-old granddaughter. It doesn't make sense. She was born, raised and then murdered here in Detroit. People from other states and all around the country are offering their support for us. But the people in Detroit are forgetting about a 7-year-old baby.

But we're not going to go away. This cop will not get away with murder.

WHAT WILL justice look like to you?

I WANT that cop to go to prison. And I'm not talking about two or three years. I want justice for Aiyana. I want those other cops to come forward. I want them fired, because they've lied. Our family's already been hurt. Why try to hurt us more? And they need to let my son go.

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