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Family of Aiyana Jones reaches $8.25 million settlement with city of Detroit

Aiyana Stanley-Jones
Family of Aiyana Jones

The city of Detroit has settled a lawsuit with the family of a girl shot and killed by a Detroit police officer nine years ago.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones was seven years old and asleep on a couch with her grandmother when Detroit police raided their east side home looking for a murder suspect in 2010.

They were looking for a murder suspect. But Officer Joseph Weekley accidentally shot Aiyana in the head, killing her. The entire botched nighttime raid was captured on camera by crews from the A&E show The First 48.

That tape never aired, but it was used as evidence in Weekley’s two trials for Aiyana’s death. Weekley claimed his gun accidentally went off as he struggled with the girl’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones. Both trials ended with hung juries.

The Jones family also sued Weekley and the Detroit Police Department in 2015. Now, Jones family attorney Geoffrey Fieger and the city of Detroit confirm they’ve settled the case for $8.25 million.

"Aiyana's death was a tragic loss for her family and has been a heavy burden on our community. We believe today's settlement is fair because it balances the needs of Aiyana's family and our responsibility for the city's finances. We hope this resolution will provide everyone involved a measure of closure," Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia said in a statement, according to the Detroit News.

The case had been set to go to trial next week. As recently as this week, Fieger said in a press release, that “to date, the City of Detroit has refused to participate in good faith in any resolution regarding Aiyana's death and continue to deny the family justice. City of Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia has treated the family with utter disrespect and disdain.” That was before he canceled a planned press conference to discuss the upcoming case.

The Detroit City Council needs to approve the settlement.

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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