Cops and coalition at odds over fatal shooting of Aiyana Stanley-Jones

The Detroit Board of Police Commissioners has instructed its chief investigator to review policies, procedures and standards, and whether they were followed, not followed or inadequate when 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was fatally shot during a police raid early May 16, the chairman said Thursday.

“We will determine if new policies need to be created or installed,” Chairman Mohamed Okdie said at the board’s weekly meeting at Detroit police headquarters.

Before the meeting began, just more than a dozen people gathered outside the building to protest what they called military-style tactics by police, including the use of a flash-bang grenade in the raid on the Lillibridge duplex where Aiyana lived.

“We have to stop the violence now,” Ron Scott of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality said as he led the demonstrators in a chant. He said the coalition wants police to join with it in “Peace Zones for Life” efforts to mediate conflict in the city’s neighborhoods.

During the board meeting, Police Chief Warren Evans refuted claims the coalition made at an earlier meeting that there were eight police-related fatalities in 2009. Evans said there were no police-related deaths in 2009, and asked the board to demand that Scott provide documentation.

Scott had agreed earlier to provide evidence for the board, but so far, there has been no supporting documentation, Evans said. “We have yet to see it,” the chief said.

Evans — who has been in a war of words with Scott since the May 3 shooting of Officer Brian Huff and a heated debate on Fox TV’s “Let it Rip” shortly afterward — also questioned Scott’s claim that complaints against the department’s gang squad have gone up 300%.

The police distributed a news release at the board meeting that compared the first four months of 2010 with the same period last year. It showed that complaints per 1,000 citizen contacts against the Gang Enforcement Unit were down 22%, and complaints against the Tactical Mobile Unit down more than 74%.

“We have made all those complaints available to the coalition,” Evans said.

Okdie asked Scott to speak, but it was after Evans had left the meeting. Scott confirmed that he will be meeting with Evans at 1:30 p.m. next Thursday. He said he intends to use the meeting to go over information the coalition has that it believes shows police responsibility in eight fatalities last year.

Okdie urged both sides to talk.


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