Detroit cop saw no struggle before girl, 7, shot

AP News
Posted: Jun 11, 2013 1:30 PM
Detroit cop saw no struggle before girl, 7, shot

DETROIT (AP) — A police officer who took part in a raid on a Detroit home testified Tuesday that he didn't see anyone struggle with another officer before a 7-year-old girl was fatally shot on a couch.

Shawn Stallard said he was just an arms-length behind Officer Joseph Weekley when they burst into the home while a stun grenade was thrown through a window to distract people inside. Weekley accidentally fired his gun a few seconds later, killing Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Stallard repeatedly told jurors that he saw no one in the vicinity, casting some doubt on Weekley's claim that Aiyana's grandmother grabbed the submachine gun. Police were at the home after midnight in 2010 to capture a murder suspect.

"Did you see anyone try to take the gun away from him?" assistant prosecutor Rob Moran asked.

"No," Stallard replied.

Weekley, a member of an elite police unit, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in Aiyana's death. He's accused of failing to control his gun during the chaotic raid.

Stallard said Detroit police are trained to push a person away if they grab an officer's gun or move the weapon in the shape of a "J'' to keep control. He said officers aren't trained to pull the trigger under those circumstances.

On cross-examination, Stallard acknowledged that the house was very dark.

"This is a very dangerous job. No amount of training can make everything safe all the time," Stallard said.

Another officer, John Collins, testified that Weekley was in a "state of panic" immediately after the shooting, repeatedly declaring, "she grabbed my gun, she grabbed my gun."

He said he advised Weekley to "tell the truth."

Another officer in charge of the Special Response Team, Lt. Don Johnson, said Weekley was vomiting, crying and shaking. He said team members never are advised to have a finger on the trigger during a raid.

Weekley kept saying, "Why did she hit my gun?" Johnson recalled.

On Monday, Aiyana's grandmother, Mertilla Jones, denied grabbing Weekley's gun. She was at the opposite end of the same couch where the girl was shot. Jones said she rolled onto the floor after the noise and bright flash from the grenade, and was on her stomach.

Jones said officers "came to kill" — a claim that Johnson firmly rejected.

"You've got to be joking," he said near the end of his testimony Tuesday.

The raid three years ago was recorded by a crew from "The First 48," a police reality show on A&E Networks. Johnson said he was "absolutely" opposed to it but the crew was allowed to stay.


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