Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Aiyana Jones: Was Reality TV a Factor in this child's death?

Aiyana Jones

At Blogher.com, responding to comments on my post about Detroit Police shooting and killing 7-year-old Aiyana Jones, I updated in the thread and said, "I get the impression the Detroit Police Department was under pressure to make a display of cracking down on crime."

Worse: It may be that the cable filming I referenced in the original BlogHer post indicates another evil shame in this little girl's death, that being filmed by a reality TV show crew influenced the police officers' actions. A libertarian blogger, William N. Grigg, calls what happened more evidence of law enforcement suffering "Showtime Syndrome."

Troops from the Detroit Police Department's Special Reaction Team ("troops" is a more appropriate description than "officers") seeking a murder suspect executed a no-knock warrant on the home where Aiyana was sleeping on the couch.

Despite warnings from neighbors that there were children present in the home -- a fact attested by the toys scattered in the front yard -- the SRT paramilitaries chose a Fallujah-style "dynamic entry," hurling a flash-bang grenade through a closed window and storming through the front door with guns drawn.

That section resonated me with me. I asked one person commenting at BlogHer.com, "Is Detroit Iraq or Afghanistan?"

The attorney for the family implies that the police were rapped up in the filming of the A&E reality television show First 48, and an anonymous source associated with the show says that a crew was at the scene filming when Aiyana was shot, but the police confiscated the tape. SeeCNN.

On the phone yesterday, I told a friend of mine about the shooting and didn't even mention reality TV because that piece of the story had not been verified. She said immediately, "I'll tell you what it is. It's the COPS mentality." She was talking about the TV show COPS and thought that whether cameras were present or not, too many police officers today act like they're in a movie when they raid homes. Furthermore, she concluded Aiyana's death may be the result of a sorry case of "testosterone poisoning."


msladydeborah said...

The show that was taping during the time of this incident is The First 48.

It might be a real blessing for the family that they were there when the shooting took place. The camera crew has stated that the Detroit police version of the story is not how it went down. They have the events on tape. As I understand it, first the grenade was thrown through the window followed by the officer shooting.

That taped portion may be the very piece of evidence needed to bring some for real closure and justice to the family.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Yes, the name of the show is deep in the post.

Deborah, it may be a blessing but also a curse if the police acted more in the name of drama, trying to put on a show for the film crew and used tactics they may not have otherwise used.

I just can't get over the toys on the lawn. I keep thinking what would I have done when I was younger and had little ones if police had burst into my house looking for a suspect. It's like the family gets violated even though they may have known nothing of the crime. Was the suspect the homeowner?

I want to learn more about how they got this "no knock" warrant.

But yes. Given the great blue wall, video generally helps wronged citizens.

Joanna said...

Sadly though, even videotaped evidence of police misconduct is often NOT ENOUGH for conviction, as evidenced by the Rodney King case. People will watch the video and see only what they want to see. As it is, people all over the internet are saying that this child's death was the fault of her family for "harboring a fugitive", meanwhile, from what I heard, the suspect was not even IN this apartment, but was located in another unit.

Vérité Parlant is Nordette Adams said...

Yes, Joanna. I've noticed the people blaming the family and it started early on. They wouldn't say that if it was their own family. As one friend said to me, while you don't want to think about it, at any given moment one of your family members could be suspected of something and police could come through your door just like that, especially if you live in neighborhoods that have a "crime problem."

I wonder if there was evidence that some rich person in the suburbs had committed a brutal murder, would the police have used the same methods after seeing children's toys on the lawn?