The city of Detroit has reached an $8.25 million settlement over the negligent death of 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones just days before the start of a civil trial.
Aiyana was fatally shot in the head by Detroit police officer Joseph Weekley during a raid in 2010, as she slept on a couch reports the Detroit Free Press.
Detroit Corporation Counsel Lawrence Garcia told the Free Press that the decision was fair and concludes a tragic incident.
“Aiyana’s death was a tragic loss for her family and has been a heavy burden on our community,” said Garcia in a statement. “We believe (the) settlement is fair because it balances the needs of Aiyana’s family and our responsibility for the city’s finances. We hope this resolution will provide everyone involved a measure of closure.”
The attorney for Aiyana’s family, Geoffrey Fieger, also was relieved that the case has concluded after nearly 10 years.
“Nothing is going to bring Aiyana back,” Fieger told the Free Press on Thursday. “It allows the family to have some closure.”
The Detroit City Council still needs to approve the settlement, which acknowledges that the city of Detroit is responsibility for Aiyana’s death, Fieger added.
The settlement wraps up the case just a few days before a civil trial was due to start on Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court.
Weekley was tried criminally two times but both resulted in hung juries. Prosecutors declined to bring charges against him a third time.
Both trials found prosecutors blaming Weekley for being negligent and reckless in how he executed a search warrant for a murder suspect during the raid. Prosecutors accused Weekley of improperly following training instructions, which reportedly included keeping his finger on the trigger of his gun.
To counter those claims, Weekley’s attorney said the shooting was nothing more than a tragic accident made worse when Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, came in contact with Weekley’s gun, causing it to fire. Jones says Weekley’s account is not true.
Weekley is still employed as a Detroit police officer, although at the time of the May 16, 2010 incident, he worked for the Special Response Team.