Thursday, June 3, 2010

Reality Crime Drama on Trial

Rough and tumble crime investigation reality television comes with a price. Last month a 7-year-old girl was killed by police in Detroit while the cameras were rolling for A&E's, The First 48.

The police contend that the house was was raided by an "elite" special response team that was looking for a suspect in the murder of a 17-year-old boy outside a Detroit store.

A member of the "elite" team ran into the child's grandmother while entering the home and the officer's gun discharged killing the 7-year-old. According to the the Washington Post, the slain girls family has hired Attorney Geoffrey Fieger. He claims to have watched a portion of a video tape of the incident and said it contradicts the police version of the girls death.

The Detroit Free Press has suggested that the police may have been playing to the A&E cameras. The police used a flash bomb before entering the residence. A flash bomb is used to divert attention and create confusion when a police special tactics team is entering a structure where they believe there is a special threat to their safety.

The Free Press quoted several experienced defense attorneys who believe the use of a flash bomb with children present is unprecedented in Detroit. Fieger told the Post he saw an officer tossing a flash bomb and then shooting into the house from the front porch.

Mayor Dave Bing, a former NBA star, has suspended all camera crews from accompanying police. "we don't think it's in the best interest of police procedure," said the mayor's spokesperson.

The matter is now in the hands of the Michigan State Police. Police Chief Warren Evans told the Associated Press, "Whatever our findings, they won't be pretty. There is no way they can be under these circumstances. They won't be pretty, but they will be honest," he said.

Chief Evans apologized and even offered the services of department chaplains to people in the community.

"I want to say to the entire Jones family, Aiyana's loved ones and friends, how terribly sorry I am for your loss," Evans said in his statement. "I have children and grandchildren and cannot comprehend losing one of them, especially under such painful circumstances. I will never be able to put myself in your shoes," said Evans.

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