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Witness to fatal raid: I warned cops about kids

June 5, 2013

DETROIT (AP) — A man rounding up his dogs late at night testified Wednesday that he warned Detroit police that children were inside a home moments before an officer burst through the door and fatally shot a 7-year-old girl.

Mark Robinson said a stun grenade thrown through a window to confuse people inside sounded like a “bomb going off.” He said he next heard a gunshot and a woman screaming, “Y’all killed my baby.”

“One cop ran out with Aiyana in his arms,” Robinson told jurors, referring to Aiyana Stanley-Jones.

Officer Joseph Weekley is on trial for involuntary manslaughter, accused of negligence in failing to control his submachine gun as he entered the home in search of a murder suspect in May 2010. Aiyana was shot in the head while sleeping on a couch near the front door.

Weekley contends that he accidentally fired the gun when Aiyana’s grandmother, also on the couch, reached for it. Prosecutors, however, said there was no struggle.

The third day of trial revealed tensions between police and prosecutors handling the case. While being questioned by the defense, Sgt. Anthony Potts described Weekley as a “damn good” officer and the department’s elite Special Response Team as “family.”

Moments later, assistant prosecutor Rob Moran’s voice rose as he challenged Potts: “Is that how you consider the defendant, like family? So you’re testifying against family?”

Earlier in his testimony, Potts hesitated when asked about training and how officers should handle a submachine gun. Moran wondered if Potts’ loyalty for Weekley was a factor.

“You had a hard time expressing what you wanted,” Potts replied, referring to the prosecutor’s questions.

Robinson lived in the two-story duplex where Aiyana was killed. He said he was still awake after midnight because his pit bull puppies had escaped under a fence. He said police forced him to the ground just as the raid was about to start.

“I’m yelling to them, ‘There’s kids in the house,’” Robinson testified. “They ignored me. They continued to bum-rush the house. That’s when the flash-bang was (thrown) and the shot went off.”

He said Aiyana was carried out “like a rag.” Potts said she was rushed to a hospital in less than eight minutes but didn’t survive.

The raid was recorded by a crew from the police reality show, “The First 48.” The jury saw short bits of video this week.

Earlier Wednesday, a police officer testified about efforts to keep track of the man who was the target of the search.

Raymond Trammell was in an unmarked car when the murder suspect, Chauncey Owens, walked by a few hours before the raid. He said he didn’t try to arrest Owens because conditions on the street were too risky that night and any capture would have violated policy for an officer working surveillance.

“Dealing with the people out there, vehicle traffic, pedestrian traffic, him with another male — putting myself in that situation is highly dangerous,” Trammell said.


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