Seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed early Sunday morning when Detroit police conducted a raid while searching for a murder suspect. Apparently, the officer's gun accidentally discharged during a confrontation. According to Jones' family, the suspect wasn't in their apartment.
Detroit PD executed a no-knock warrant at 12:40 a.m. on Sunday, throwing a disorientation-inducing "flash bang" through an unopened window and forcing their way into the Jones' apartment and the apartment above. At some point, one officer was involved in a confrontation with a
unidentified 46-year-old woman who seems to be Aiyana's grandmother. His gun was accidentally discharged, and the bullet struck Aiyana in the neck while she lay on a couch nearby.
The police arrested their murder suspect. Aiyana's father says he was in the upstairs apartment. The chief of police, Warren Evans, is on vacation. Assistant Police Chief Ralph Goodbee called Sunday "probably the worst day of my career."
No-knock warrants, which have risen over the last three decades, are notorious for resulting in the deaths of innocent people, as Radley Balko pointed out on Slate in 2006:
These raids are often launched on tips from notoriously unreliable confidential informants. Rubber-stamp judges, dicey informants, and aggressive policing have thus given rise to the countless examples of "wrong door" raids we read about in the news. In fact, there's a disturbingly long list of completely innocent people who've been killed in "wrong door" raids, including New York City worker Alberta Spruill, Boston minister Accelyne Williams, and a Mexican immigrant in Denver named Ismael Mena.
Thanks to an unfortunate, tragic accident, it's possible that Aiyana Jones will be the next name on that "disturbingly long list."