Detroit Cop Charged in Child's Death During Raid Filmed for 'The First 48'
A Detroit police officer is facing charges stemming from the shooting death of a child during a raid being filmed for A&E reality show 'The First 48.' The AP reports that Joseph Weekley, a member of the city's Special Response Team, was indicted Tuesday on involuntary manslaughter and careless and reckless discharge of a
firearm causing the death of seven year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones. The TV show's principal photographer, Allison Howard, was also indicted on perjury and obstruction of justice charges. She and Weekley have both pleaded not guilty. The indictments come after a year-long investigation into the death of Aiyana, who was shot during a night-time raid on her home. Police officials have said that Weekley's gun accidentally discharged after he was bumped or jostled by the girl's grandmother. Police raided the home looking for Aiyana's aunt's fiancé, Chauncey Owens, who was the suspect in a shooting death. (He has since pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.) Charges have also been filed against Aiyana's father, Charles Jones, who's expected to be arraigned Wednesday on charges of aiding and abetting first-degree murder, felon in possession of a firearm and perjury in a court proceeding. Weekley's attorney, Steve Fishman, said his client "knows he was acting as a police officer in a dangerous mission." If convicted, Weekley could face 15 years behind bars. According to the AP, Howard is accused of lying to prosecutors about showing or giving video footage of the raid to "third parties." The indictment did not specify who the third party was, but in a press conference last year an attorney for Aiyana's family told reporters they'd seen a few minutes of the video footage. 'The First 48' follows homicide detectives in various U.S. police departments as they work the critical first 48 hours of a murder investigation. The show's website says it gives viewers "unprecedented access to crime scenes, interrogations and forensic processing." Aiyana's death led Detroit Mayor Dave Bing to ban reality TV crews from tagging along with city police. He also admonished then-Police Chief Warren Evans for not telling him that he'd permitted TV cameras to be present during raids. In a statement yesterday, Bing said "Our condolences remain with all affected by this tragedy. We must use this difficult moment to continue bringing our community and police department together."