It is a monumental pity that the Detroit Special Response Team, or the decision-makers above them in the Detroit PD, didn't have the sense of proportionality displayed by Mob figures like Kevin Weeks and Raymond Patriarca. If they had, the murder suspect they sought – 34-year-old Chauncey Owens – could have been taken into custody without the midnight paramilitary raid that resulted in the burning and shooting death of seven-year-old Aiyana Jones.
Shortly after midnight on May 16, while Aiyana – a radiant little girl who might have grown up to resemble Zoe Saldana – was sleeping on the downstairs living room sofa where she would be killed just a few minutes later, the raid team gathered for a "safety briefing."
As described by police sources to the Detroit Free Press, that briefing dealt entirely with considerations of "officer safety," which – as any honest observer will admit – is the highest and most important consideration in any law enforcement operation.
The raid team "was told there was information that the suspect might be armed, possibly with an assault rifle and a handgun," reports the Free Press. "Someone said there also might be dangerous dogs and that the house was believed to be a possible dope den."
Another intelligence source speculated that the unprepossesing duplex might actually be the location of the missing Iraqi WMDs, which had been stored in a basement vault guarded by a basilisk.
No, not really.
But in its anxiety over officer safety, and its eagerness to stage a properly impressive raid for the benefit of the embedded A&E camera crew, the SRT did not take into account "the possibility of any children being present," despite the fact that the front yard was littered with toys – a clue that even a police officer should be able to recognize – and warnings to that effect offered by neighbors as the raid unfolded.
Street officers and homicide detectives were already on the scene when the SRT's armored personnel carrier rolled up in front of the duplex.
The APC was driven by Officer Joseph Weekley, who was also the first through the door after a flash-bang grenade had been thrown through the window. Weekley went barreling into the living room armed with a machine gun and protected by a ballistic shield.
Meanwhile, Aiyana – according to at least one eyewitness – was being severely burned by the incendiary grenade that had been thrown into her bed.
Read all of it.