The police shooting death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in Detroit in 2010 was the tragic result of a botched raid. On Friday, a judge in the case dismissed a charge of involuntary manslaughter against the officer who shot and killed the girl.
Joseph Weekley, the officer in question, faced Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway flanked by his defense attorney Steve Fishman. After prosecutors in the case presented their side against Weekly, the judge’s decision came as unexpected according to reports.
The Associated Press reports:
Defense attorney Steve Fishman said an involuntary manslaughter charge should be dismissed because prosecutors had failed to show that Weekley intentionally created a danger that caused Aiyana’s death.
“There is absolutely no evidence, none, that’s in the least bit credible,” argued Fishman, who repeatedly has called Aiyana’s death a tragic accident, not a crime.
Wayne County Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway agreed to dismiss the felony.
“I don’t see the evidence that (Weekley) willfully disregarded the results to others,” Hathaway said. “The entire trial has basically been about the carelessness of the defendant, based on his skills. If I am going to err, I’m going to err on the side of the defense.”
Weekly still faces charges of a reckless discharge of a firearm, a far lesser offense. Weekly has had two trials so far after a verdict couldn’t be reached last year.
The prosecutors will file an appeal in the manslaughter case, and the firearm trail will pick back up Monday.
A spokesperson for a group calling for the charges against the officer accused Judge Hathaway of misconduct in the case by claiming she was “circumventing the role of the jury.”
Watch local station WXYZ’s report below.