No retrial for Detroit policeman who shot child: prosecutor

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 28, 2015 4:35 PM

(Reuters) - Prosecutors will not seek a third trial for a Detroit police officer who fatally shot a sleeping child during a raid on a house in 2010, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy said on Wednesday.

Jurors in October were unable to reach a verdict in the trial of Officer Joseph Weekley, the second time that a trial against the officer in the death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones ended in a mistrial.

Worthy said prosecutors informed the girl's family on Wednesday they would not seek a retrial and would move to dismiss the case on Friday.

A Wayne County judge granted Weekley a directed verdict on the more serious felony charge of involuntary manslaughter during the trial, a decision prosecutors cannot appeal.

Jurors were unable to reach a verdict on a misdemeanor charge of reckless discharge of a firearm against Weekley.

Jones' shooting stirred protests and tension in Detroit and heightened concerns about excessive force by police and the trial was heard while the shooting of an unarmed black teenager by a white officer in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked protests and national discussion over police conduct.

Detroit police had been searching for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a teenager when they raided the building where Jones was sleeping. The suspect was apprehended in the building and later sentenced to life in prison.

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Jones was struck in the head by a bullet during the raid and prosecutors argued that Weekley had been wilfully negligent. An attorney for the officer said the gun discharged when Jones' grandmother grabbed it.

(Reporting by David Bailey in Minneapolis; Editing by Eric Walsh and Sandra Maler)