On Saturday, only six days after he put his daughter Aiyana to sleep on his living room couch, Charles Jones laid her to rest in a Detroit church.
Hundreds of mourners filled Second Ebenezer Church to give their final farewells to 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley Jones, who was shot by a police officer on May 14th.
The final speaker at the nearly two-hour service was Rev. Al Sharpton. His eulogy criticized Detroit police, but he quickly transitioned and challenged mourners to take responsibility and help stop the recent wave of murders that has swept the city.
The following day on Sunday, Detroit’s Mayor Dave Bing spoke at a Coalition Against Police Brutality community meeting and had a similar message. His office believes the issue is that “people are upset with the police, and not upset with the criminals.” Bing seems to believe the problem is less about his police officers and more of a cultural problem. He echoed comments he made earlier in the week, “when people don’t have jobs, they get frustrated and angry and people are making very bad decisions.”
Bing failed to mention that his police department has been federally sanctioned twice in less than a decade for excessive force and inhumane conditions at the city’s county jail. In a RaceWire story published last week, Jamilah King writes about Joseph Weekley, the officer accused of shooting Aiyana:
Weekley’s no stranger to controversy. Assistant police chief Ralph Godbee told the Detroit Free Press that last summer Weekley was involved in a non-fatal shooting of an allegedly barricaded suspect. Godbee didn’t specify Weekley’s involvement but did say that his actions were deemed appropriate by the department.
Last year he was also accused in a federal lawsuit of being part of a team that raided a home on the city’s North Side where an officer pointed a pistol at three children — including an infant — and shot two dogs.
Aiyana’s case seems to be clear to everyone except Mayor Bing and Detroit police. So clear that even Roshell Johnson, 9, Aiyana’s best friend understands. “Why did the police do it to her?” she said after the service. “I loved her so much. I want her to come back alive.”