The police raid that took place May 16, 2010, took the life of seven-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones shortly after midnight in Detroit, Michigan.
Detroit Police raided the residence hoping to apprehend a suspect in an earlier murder that had occured. Police used something called a flash bomb.
Personal experience allows me to describe what it is like being awakened by a flash bomb. While dreaming about Grandma, mental imagery switched to a science class setting. A science class explosion occurred during the dream real enough to end sleeping. Waking is/was confusing because the eyes are open but orange is all that can be seen.
In my experience the blinding orange color came across the hall from the bedroom of my parents. I screamed but could not hear myself scream. After a lingering second spent worrying about the grandmother I had been dreaming about, I heard the commanding voices of the officers somewhere in the home.
I rose from bed and laid face down on the floor. I joined my hands behind my back and began to doze back off, waiting for the officers to come to my room to handcuff me.
I knew the officer’s voices because they had also come a week prior at dinner time. A week earlier, I had been watching TV on my parent’s bed. I was eating from a plate that was sitting on a tray.
I was twelve but I was full grown; a fact that the officer communicating through a radio put emphasis on. The emphasis made me wonder at the time if the case might be that twelve-year-olds were not supposed to have guns put to their forehead…an obscure mental question that is often revisited by my mind for no other reason save for that it was permanently scorched into memory by the shock of the moment as it was happening.
I’m not sure of the raid’s outcome, as far as what might explain the fact that my parents were home and not sitting in jail a week later when the officers came back for a second raid at 3:00 a.m.
What is for readers to note here, is that the officers knew the floor plan of our unit in that Spring Valley four-plex. They knew where the bedrooms were and the living room. They had searched these plus the kitchen and bath a week earlier.
It is counter intuitive to my respect and support of the police and law enforcement to report this next fact; and rallying anyone against the police is not something I want to engage in – not against the men and women who put their lives on the line for the public.
While I have no problem reporting about a bad apple belonging to any profession, the idea that all cops are bad just isn’t an idea I share at all. It is every citizen’s duty to be calm, cooperative, and respectful of authority during police encounters even if the situation is initially misunderstood. I remain optimistic that just like with every profession, there are good and bad people.
What I do believe is that, in California, teams of officers who raid the house of civilians have repeatedly proven themselves dishonest and this makes it hard to trust police.
I am one of many people who have a thing or two to tell congress. Something needs to change.
Do they think that it is safer to not announce their entry? Most home owners believe they are being robbed and think they must shoot an intruder so they reach for the gun they have to protect themselves should just such a home invasion occur.
Is that what they want? Are the people at the wrong end of a raid just scumbags? Do cops hope that one of these scumbags pulls a gun so that they may get to use their weapon?
In the raid on my home that occurred one week prior to the raid in which a flash bomb was thrown into my home, my dad thought it was a robbery. We had in fact been violently robbed at our previous address. My dad pulled a gun because he was sitting watching t.v. just like my mom and I were when the police ran in through our open front door without announcing who they were.
Policy is to never announce upon entry and to always lie and say that announcement was made.
If announcing who they are is for their safety not ours, why do they carry out every raid without announcing who they are? To keep drugs from being flushed? Announcement or not there is no way a suspect has time to flee. It is hard not to think that officers who raid might just all be jaded.
It is easy to wonder if they want to have to kill a junky, a suspect, or any scum-by-association living under the same roof.
In the case of my family, I don’t have to think because I know.
After raiding my home – and my dad pulling a gun on the officers (before realizing they were law enforcement agents and allowing them to handcuff him) the same team returned a week later.
They brought a coroner’s wagon with them to wait in our parking lot like a taxi waiting for a fare.
When the police raided at 3:00 a.m. a coroner’s wagon was waiting in our parking lot. I saw it. It was black. I saw the black car in the lot when the police were leading us out to their police cars; but I had not known the car’s purpose until some time later when I overheard the conversation of adults.
The flash bomb that was shot through the window of my parent’s bedroom landed on their bed. My dad rolled over in his sleep and the flash bomb fell onto the carpet between the window and their bed.
It blew a four by four-foot hole in the wall. It blew out every window. It blew the front door off its hinges. It blew every single dry wall nail out of the walls so that little cone-shaped “hats” went up each wall in a row where the nails had been shot out of beams from under the paint and ejected into the air.
The little girl who lived upstairs was unable to sleep in her home after our raid downstairs because our ceiling was her family’s floor. She had nightmares from the trauma of the fright.
Had my father’s leg not knocked the flash bomb onto the floor before it decimated, well, I had assumed that he would have lost his legs. Because it was a coroner’s wagon staged out front and not an ambulance, though, this may have been a naive assumption that the injury wouldn’t have been more fatal.
As a San Diego Examiner, the goal is to avoid first person. Hopefully the value of page clicks is greater than the value of avoiding personal stories.
This is the personal account needed, not only by San Diego, but by people trying to process this tragedy as a more local heartbreak.
The death of Aiyana Jones has been reported by CNN to have been caused by a fatal shot to the head, fired by an officer who made entry following a flash bomb. The officer encountered a 46 year old woman. Something happened that is being investigated. A shot was fired that killed the little girl in her Detroit home.
The Detroit Chief of Police was not available. CNN has quoted Assistant Chief Godbee who spoke about the incident that is a tragedy for both officers and family members of Aiyana.
“As is common in these types of situations, the officers deployed a distractionary device commonly known as a flash bang,” he said in the statement. “The purpose of the device is to temporarily disorient occupants of the house to make it easier for officers to safely gain control of anyone inside and secure the premise.”
Upon entering the home, the officer encountered a 46-year-old female inside the front room, Godbee said. “Exactly what happened next is a matter still under investigation, but it appears the officer and the woman had some level of physical contact.
“At about this time, the officer’s weapon discharged one round which, tragically, struck 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones in the neck/head area.”
The purpose of reporting the death of Aiyana by attaching the experience of this reporter, is to not only give readers a better idea of how such a accidental death could occur; but it is also to give readers the necessary information allowing them to better process a statement made by Aiyana’s father.
The words that CNN quoted Aiyana’s father to have said might otherwise seem crazy to some. To me, this father’s statement about his daughter’s death does not seem crazy at all.
Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, told CNN affiliate WDIV, “She was sleeping and they came in the door shooting and throwing flash grenades … burned my baby up and shot her, killed her.”