Detroit -- The man who allegedly fired the shot that killed a 7-year-old girl during a raid Sunday spent his free time helping kids in need.
He also is accused in a 2009 federal lawsuit of being part of a team that broke into a home, shot two dogs and pointed a pistol at children, including an infant.
The revelations paint two different pictures of Officer Joseph Weekley, a member of the Detroit Police Special Response Team who was placed on a desk job after his gun discharged during a raid early Sunday, resulting in the death of young Aiyana Jones. [Emphasis added--E.M.]
What actually happened the night of little Aiyana's death may end up being solved by the review of a videotape--because Officer Weekley is one of the Detroit Special Response Team officers regularly featured on A&E's reality show, "The First 48."
Is it a good thing for law enforcement members to be part of a TV show? Not everyone thinks so:
Some say that having TV crews present during raids like this one simply increase police accountability. If video from the raid does prove, as Aiyana's family's lawyer claims, that a shot or shots were fired from the porch of the home before the home was entered, that would certainly be an instance of such increased accountability.
DETROIT — When police burst into a home in search of a murder suspect, a reality TV crew documented the raid — and may have recorded the death of a 7-year-old girl accidentally killed by an officer.
Aiyana Stanley-Jones' death put a spotlight on the growing number of reality shows that focus on law enforcement. A number of big-city departments have used shows such as Fox's "Cops" to attract recruits. Others have shied away from the up-close attention. And critics have questioned whether police behave differently when cameras are watching. [...]
Gary Brown, City Council president pro tem and a former deputy police chief, does not believe there is a correlation between Huff's death and actions of officers Sunday.
"I assume they are going to be professional. I would hope the crew didn't have any impact on policies and procedures," he said.
But criminal defense attorney Marvin Barnett said the cameras probably played a role in how the raid was conducted, especially in the use of a flash-bang grenade designed to stun people inside a building.
Barnett said he could not recall the use of such devices on houses with children inside.
"We are making the police actors in a reality drama, and it might make them decide to showboat," said former Detroit Councilwoman Barbara-Rose Collins, who does not recall reviewing the deal with A&E but said she would have opposed it. "Everybody wants to be John Wayne."
But it won't bring back to her family an innocent child who was asleep on a couch the night her world exploded in burning light and gunfire.