Detroit resident Joseph Weekly, who shot 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones in the head during a home invasion on May 17, 2010, is free after a jury deadlocked on felony manslaughter charges. Nobody disputes that Weekly was the killer, or that Aiyana was an entirely innocent victim. Weekly was exonerated by virtue of the fact that his home invasion crew bore the insignia of the criminal syndicate that claims a monopoly on the legitimate use of force within Detroit.
Weekly was part of the Detroit Police Department’s Special Reaction Team (SRT), which staged – I’m using the word in its theatrical sense – a midnight raid on the home where Aiyana was sleeping. This was done entirely for the benefit of a camera crew from a cable “Reality TV” show called “The First 48.” The police were in pursuit of a murder suspect who lived in the upstairs section of the home, and who could have been arrested through much less telegenic means – if “public safety” had been the most urgent priority.
Neighbors who saw the Berserkers assemble outside the home warned that there were children inside. The presence of toys scattered in the front yard should have made that fact obvious enough that a cop could understand it. The police could have waited out the suspect and taken him into custody through a low-key, conventional arrest. A full-force raid would needlessly imperil innocent people inside the home. But anything less than a Fallujah-style “dynamic entry” would have meant missing an agitprop opportunity, and left the jacked-up adolescents in paramilitary gear with an unbearable case of blue balls. So Weekly and his fellow sociopaths attacked the living room where Aiyana was sleeping by flinging a flash-bang grenade through a closed window, kicking down the door, and storming in with guns drawn.
There is a strong possibility that Weekly fired the fatal gunshot before entering the room. It is known that the grenade landed on the couch where Aiyana was sleeping. Her father claims that the child suffered burns as a result. In any case, she was dead within seconds, and it was Weekly who killed her without cause or legal justification.
The original account was that either Weekly or one of the other Stormtroopers engaged what was called a “tussle” with Mertilla Jones, Aiyana’s grandmother. This supposedly caused an assault rifle to “go off,” apparently of its own accord. That official story was a lie, of course, and Weekly admitted under oath that he had “unintentionally” pulled the trigger of his MP5 submachine gun.
For those who belong to the state-privileged criminal fraternity that includes Weekly, “officer safety” is at all times and in all places the highest and most important consideration. The same limitless self-preoccupation that typifies the state’s enforcement caste is also manifest in an acute sense of self-pity on the part of police officers who murder innocent people. During his testimony, Weekly invited the public to pity him: “I’ll never be the same,” blubbered Aiyana’s killer, who recalled playing at the park with his daughters before being called to play a part in the paramilitary assault that led to the state-sanctioned murder of someone else’s 7-year-old child.
The human type Weekly represents was described very well by Hannah Arendt in her book Eichmann in Jerusalem. Referring to members of the Nazi regime’s “special action squads” – which they called Einsatzgruppen, and we call SWAT teams, or SRTs – Arendt noted that the problem they faced was “how to overcome not so much their conscience as the animal pity by which all normal men are affected in the presence of physical suffering. The trick used by Himmler — who apparently was rather strongly afflicted by these instinctive reactions himself — was very simple and probably very effective; it consisted in turning these instincts around, as it were, in directing them toward the self. So that instead of saying: What horrible things I did to people!, the murderers would be able to say: What horrible things I had to watch in the pursuance of my duties, how heavily the task weighed upon my shoulders!”
Weekly is a museum-quality specimen of the self-pitying Stormtrooper – and the jurors who let him escape mortal accountability for his crime would likely have done the same for Weekly’s German antecedents in the 1930s.
3:09 pm on June 19, 2013 Email William Norman Grigg