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Detroit officer faces misdemeanor charge in Aiyana Jones's death; jury deliberating

A jury is deciding whether a Detroit police officer is guilty of a misdemeanor for causing the death of a little girl in 2010.

No one disputes that Office Joseph Weekley shot and killed Aiyana Jones when police raided her family’s home looking for a murder suspect.

He is charged with careless, reckless discharge of a firearm, causing death.

The question is whether Weekley failed to exercise “ordinary care” when he fired the shot that killed Jones.

Prosecutors argue he was negligent because he didn’t follow his extensive weapons training.

Wayne County Prosecutor Robert Moran says Weekley is guilty because he failed to control his weapon.

“We’ve heard testimony time and time again about how you’re supposed to contain your weapon,” Moran told the jury during closing arguments. “He failed to control the trigger. He failed to keep innocents safe. All you have to do, if you’re a police officer, is follow the training.”

But Weekley’s attorney, Steve Fishman, says training can only take a police officer so far.

“Training tells you what you try to do, what you should do,” Fishman said. “The training cannot prepare you for each and every individual situation.”

Initially, Weekley also faced an involuntary manslaughter charge. But Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway threw that charge out mid-trial.

This is Weekley’s second trial in Jones’s death. In the first, the jury deadlocked on manslaughter charges.

Sarah Cwiek joined Michigan Public in October 2009. As our Detroit reporter, she is helping us expand our coverage of the economy, politics, and culture in and around the city of Detroit.
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