By Diane Bukowski
June 16, 2012
DETROIT – On the night of a motion hearing in the case of Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley, who shot seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones to death two years ago during a violent raid, police in riot gear again invaded her family’s new home on Detroit’s side.
Family members said they were struck, shoved and called racist and sexist names as police officers, some in plainclothes, forced their way into the home on Detroit’s far east side.
Five children were there at the time, including a one-month old baby, a two-year-old toddler, and a five-year old.
“I was just sitting here watching my grandson,” Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s paternal grandmother said. “Four cop cars pulled up and then they were coming from all over. They tried to grab Bobbie (Aiyana’s cousin), but he came in the house and me and Lakiya and R. J. [Rafael Jones] went out on the porch. The Black cop hit me in the mouth with a flashlight, and pushed and shoved me.”
Bobbie Williams III said he had been outside sitting next to a small fire the family has been burning on the sidewalk to keep the mosquitoes away for some weeks. He said police officers had driven by before and said nothing. But this time, he said, one of the cops told him to put the fire out, saying, “What are you n—–s doing, trying to burn down the city?”
Bobbie said he complied and doused the fire with water but a white cop jumped out, calling to his sergeant to follow him, and pursued him anyway. Bobbie warned them he had a permit to carry a concealed weapon for self-defense, then retreated into the house.
Jones’ 14-year-old grandson Rafael went to the defense of his grandmother, he said.
“They hit my grandma in the mouth and the white cop called her a whore and slut, and when I said something to him, he tried to grab me off the porch, and he called me a little shit and a bastard.”
Rafael demonstrated exactly where he and his grandmother were standing on the porch. He said he was on the right of the steps while his grandmother was on the left (facing the house), when he went to her defense.
Meanwhile, Jones’ daughter LaKrystal Sanders videotaped the events on her camera.
“I told them one of you cops just went to court today because he murdered my niece,” Sanders said. “I screamed that Aiyana Jones was murdered by the cops. I told them you better call your lawyers, because I’m recording you all. I told them I want your badge numbers after they hit my mother with the flashlight. They started backing off then.”
She said the cops were “pulling on their guns” as if about to shoot. She said the family was concerned about Bobbie and other young Black males in the house.
Family members said a white female officer who knows the family finally told the cops to leave after at least ten minutes of terror, but the cops still kept shining lights into their faces and into the house, blinding them.
“The cops have known where we lived ever since we moved here,” Jones said. “They drive by here all the time shining their lights into the house.”
Family members said the officers were in blue-and-white marked cars, some of them in plainclothes and some in uniform. They said they appeared to be from the gang squad in the seventh precinct, riding four to a car.
Jones said she had just been at the hospital a couple of days before; her health has been deteriorating since the day Aiyana was killed. The incident happened on the anniversary of her sister JoAnn Robinson’s death. Robinson was present in the room on May 16, 2010, when the Detroit Police Special Response team, being filmed by A&E’s First 48 show, threw an incendiary grenade into the house and then shot Aiyana in the head.
Her health had also declined since that time.
Voice of Detroit contacted Mayor Dave Bing’s chief of communications Naomi Patton, who said she would “try” to get back with a response from his office. A message was left with the Police Department communications office for Chief of Police Ralph Godbee’s spokesperson Eren Stephens. A week later, neither has responded.
Family members said neither Bing nor Godbee has ever apologized to them in person for Aiyana’s death.
To watch LaKrystal Sanders’ video of the police raid, click on