May 18th, 2010
11:18 AM ET

Family of Michigan girl killed in police raid files lawsuits

An attorney representing the family of a 7-year-old Detroit, Michigan, girl killed in a police raid filed lawsuits in state and federal courts Tuesday, accusing the police of a cover-up.

"This type of activity by a police force is unacceptable in America," said Michigan attorney Geoffrey Fieger at a news conference in his office. "What is equally unacceptable is the cover-up that has occurred."

Fieger said the lawsuits allege gross negligence, a violation of civil rights and a conspiracy to cover up the violation of civil rights.

Aiyana Jones died early Sunday after she was hit by gunfire during a police raid at her home.

Detroit Assistant Police Chief Ralph Godbee has said that police were executing a search warrant for a suspect in a shooting two days earlier that killed a high school student.

He said preliminary information indicated that members of the Detroit Police Special Response Team approached the house and announced themselves as police.

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Filed under: Justice
soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. Steve

    Well the good news is the family will sue for millions which they obvious will appreciate much more than the child.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Doug

    The bottom line is this: There is no excuse for a highly trained SRT/SWAT team to shoot a kid. For anything. The police intelligence unit would have known there were young children in the house and should have briefed the team accordingly.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Annette

    Airheads, can you read this duplex had two separate families in it. The real truth is the police went in like RAMBO supposedly to get a killer, the RAMBO cops became killers. The cops and their superiors lie all the time. To justify the murder of anyone is criminal. When someone kill a cop there is hell to pay, it should be the same when cops murder the innocent.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ye Olde Suns

      "Police have said the target of the raid, a 34-year-old man, was arrested in the upstairs unit of the duplex. Police had warrants to search both units, and family members of the slain girl were seen going in and out of both on Monday. The suspect has not been charged, and it was not immediately clear what relationship he had to the slain girl." – AP, 5-18-10

      May 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Annette

      ye olde sun going in and out of a neighbors house don't make you the criminal. So, it's ok to involve people in a gun raid because they visited the neighbor. You must live in the woods somewhere,because a visited don't justify a murder of this child. So, the cops went with revenge on their mind. Let these gun slinging cops come to your house cause you visited your neighbor.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Arnold Ziffel

    ever see police announce themselves. Police, 1 second later BANG and break the door down.
    This militia mentality is stupid except maybe taking down meth labs or huge drug operations

    Google drug raids wrong houses they are breaking down walls, shooting people and then realizing they are at the wrong house in many instances. How stupid can they get. if they enter your house cause they are raiding the wrong house and you kill them you get charged with manslaughter but if they kill you while raiding the wrong house it's called self-defense. Any idiot cop or management that can't even get the address correct should not be employed anywhere

    A simple wait-out and perimeter would have worked. Of course they were on TV and trying to show off..

    May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  5. therealquestion

    Everyone is missing the point; why are we rushing to blame someone? For the record, I think the police are responsible. But I am astonished at the arguments that this child was in an unsafe environment. Yes, it is a poor neighborhood (I assume, though no evidence has been presented). Lots of children live in unsafe environments all around the country and the world. If one of them is injured by the police, negligently, or as 'collateral damage', do we blame the parents? If the parents themselves are criminals? Should we assume they are criminals or should they be tried first? Crimes happen in rich neighborhoods too. Who do we blame then? Why are we sorry for college students that are the victims of violience – why not ask how her parents could have sent her to college? How dare they? I read no evidence that this was a crack house. It appears that the right for individuals to have guns (which I dont agree with) in order to protect their homes is extended to only a certain race – this grandmother tried to protect her home (although this is also not proven) at the most by using ..what? her 50 year old fists as a weapon? So should this family have been armed to the teeth as the gun rights people insist? Would that have helped? If an elder woman confused and scared in the middle of the night disoriented tries to protect a granddaughter who is then killed and this is how the police and the public react, what would happen if we all had guns?

    May 18, 2010 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. JIm DeOwl

    I am truly amazed at the comments by uninformed and bigoted people on this website suggesting the little girl who died somehow deserved to be murdered by over-zealous police raiding the wrong address. You people should be ashamed of yourselves! It does not seem to bother any of you that an innocent child was killed! I've read comments from you people that say things like "she should have been taught how to hit the floor" and she "attacked to police officers" and garbage about her "living with crackheads and killers". What kind of crap is that to say? And besides, who chooses the family they are born into? Why does it not bother any of you that a little girl lost her life, regardless of how it happened or where she lived? It's as if you people were saying that she desverved to die because she lived in the neighborhood where a criminal lived! You people are sick, and you make me even sicker. If I knew any of you personally I would kick your butts and toss you to the curb. I'm appalled, and I want to know why CNN has not banned your IP Address from the website.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  7. JayDeeTea

    We hear of this type of crime from time to time. It's not all that uncommon in this country. The police who do this should be prosecuted as criminals; but what do we get instead? Police chiefs defending gun-totten hot heads with whatever excuse works at the time. I suppose we should nat be very surprised at all this – after all, this is a country where gun ownership and use is as common (i.e., "American") as apple pie!

    May 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Buchanan

    Whether or not the wanted person was in the duplex unit or not is completely irrelevant. The police shot and killed a little girl. Murdered, though unintentionally. The police are very well trained to handle situations of this nature (raids, extractions, hostage situations, etc.). Killing a little child is not part of the hours, days, weeks, and months of training and certifications. Weapons and defensive tactics training should have adequately prepared these law enforcement officers on weapon safety. Accidental discharge of a firearm is a chargeable offense. The only gunshots fired, was that of the negligent officer(s). There is a level of neglect and irresponsibility on the part of the police that took place in this scenario. Police officers are not supposed to shoot or kill unarmed people, especially children. The police should be held accountable, though sadly it will never bring this little girl back. This could also have easily been anyone else’s home, where this same scenario could have played out. Police are only as good as the intelligence they obtain and use.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Ye Olde Suns

    Win/win situation for the family. One less mouth to feed means more crack with their lawsuit money.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • lisa

      That's a really sick thing to say. I think you need counseling.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ye Olde Suns

      I apologize. I should have said more money for a new vehicle for their next drive-by.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:46 pm | Report abuse |
  10. mark

    "They should sue for med expenses and funeral expenses only. How will millions of dollars comfort them? By driving down a Detroit street in a Mercedes help them recover. And oh yes, the vampire lawyers that are whispering in their ears as we speak. You deserve millions for your suffering and we do too."

    Ummm because the city should have to pay for their mistake. The police are there to protect/serve and in this case they're no better than the people they are supposedly protecting us from. Sure they may not have intended to kill this child but they did murder her none the less. Manslaughter at best and second degree murder at worst. Maybe a huge lawsuit will help to remind police real ramifications of drawing there weapons only in life threatening instances because apparently the chance of killing innocent people isn't enough of a reminder for them. If a lawsuit is seen as too much punishment then maybe the victims family should be able to sneak into the officers home and shoot his child. Just because he was wearing a badge and a blue suit doesn't make it any less offensive.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heather

      I would agree with this if, and only if, the family would turn around and donate that money to a worthwhile charity or cause. Paying for the funeral and related expenses is one thing, but buying a new car or home is different. They didn't win the lottery, their child was killed. I understand that this family would want those responsible to pay for their mistakes, but to profit from it and live off of that money is incredibly disturbing.

      May 18, 2010 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
  11. smc

    How terrible is this; A young innocent girl gets shot! I pray she rests with GOD. First off, if it was part of a reality tv program, the video will present the truth. Every one wants to jump to conclusions. Lets see the evidence. If the police were in fact entering the wrong apartment, well that is a major mistake. Don't give me this crap that you shouldn't live in the same building as a crack attic. Some people don't have a choice. You do your best as a parent to shield your children from this element. Remember, regardless of the outcome, a beautiful little girl is gone! Oh, one more point; I do not know the family who lost this child. I'm a compassionate middle aged white guy ( a republican no less). I'm just tired of the lack of respect for life, and the senseless passing of those unfortunate enough to get caught up in lives troubles. Again, rest in peace.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ye Olde Suns

      The police had a warrant to search both units.

      "Police have said the target of the raid, a 34-year-old man, was arrested in the upstairs unit of the duplex. Police had warrants to search both units, and family members of the slain girl were seen going in and out of both on Monday. The suspect has not been charged, and it was not immediately clear what relationship he had to the slain girl."

      May 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • muffin

      Actually the police only had a warrant to search the unit the girl and her dad lived in but AFTER the suspect was found upstairs they immediately got a second warrant. The family's attorney stated this in an interview he did yesterday and he said he had the court records to prove that the initial warrant was for the WRONG apt.

      May 19, 2010 at 7:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jillian

    I can imagine there were probably lawyers coming out of the wood work wanting to make this case! People should not assume that this family went looking to get paid right away....its more like lawyers saw $$$. What would you think if the person that just killed your child was put on "paid leave" from their job? Would you think that its an injustice? Would you be okay with that? Of course they wanted something done! All of you would too!

    May 18, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ivan Libya

    Wow, two days after the fact and they are suing already, clearly this family is hurt thinking about money already! They deserved to lose her!

    May 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  14. brain2brain

    When events like this take place it is appropriate to get a legal team in to sue quickly so they can file for reports before those reports are modified or restated. It is very important to get the fact from those that will talk.

    This case is clearly wrong from the beginning, without the added video recording. Read the first news article and follow up before you make the wrong judgment. This is not the way cops are trained to exercise this type of warrant.

    Pigs are trained to remove the known innocent before flash bombing a house. This girl was to young to be guilty of anything in the eyes of the common law in all the states I am aware of.

    This is the work of "pigs", not cops. If I hear a bang in the middle of the night I'm going for my .357 and I will hope to take on of them out before I go. Pig or not, I will protect my family and property.

    These pigs could have waited until morning and removed the innocent. They probably could have done it with a phone call at 7AM. That would have been the proper way and would have demonstrated their training procedures.

    This only shows again that most cops are bad cops. If most cops are good cops, then where are they when a bad cop is beating an innocent man? They turn and walk away as they did last week in that video. In that event the cops didn't restrain or correct the cops when they stomped on an innocent person laying on the sidewalk. Please tell me where all the good cops were they all of the beating took place.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  15. J.Crobuzon

    I'd have been to the cops' houses by this time if they killed my child. Like the man says, if the cops won't help you, call a biker.

    May 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ye Olde Suns

      So, you'd take it out on the cops instead of the suspect in the murder of a 17-year-old that brought the cops to your house in the first place?

      May 18, 2010 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
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