“Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” –Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
I couldn’t sleep. I tossed and turned under the covers. I don’t know if it was because of my urgency to tell this story, her story, or maybe it was my grief over how people of color are demoralized in the country they built with their blood, sweat and tears. Those wee hours of the morning woes are real, especially when you can’t escape the image of 7-year-old Aiyana Jones murdered in cold blood by a rogue police officer.
On May 16, 2010 Aiyana peacefully slept on the couch of her grandmother’s home when Detroit police threw a concussion grenade through the window. Police were initiating a no-knock warrant in search of a homicide suspect when they burst in the apartment. Reports vary. Police claim once inside the apartment Aiyana’s grandmother, Mertilla Jones, tussled with the officer causing the gun to go off. The bullet from the officer’s gun fatally shot a child in the neck.
Ms. Jones released a statement that she never came in contact with the officer and hit the floor as soon as the grenade exploded.
“I hit the floor when I heard them hit the window,” said Jones. “They blew my granddaughter’s brains out. They killed her right before my eyes. I watched the light go out of her eyes. I seen it.”
She watched the light go out of her granddaughter’s eyes.
Charles Jones, Aiyana’s father, voice cracked as his eyes welled with tears in an interview with local news. He had just gone to bed after covering Aiyana with her favorite Disney princess blanket. Upon police orders to drop to the floor Jones was forced to lie in his own daughter’s blood.
“I would like to say that y’all killed an innocent child, my only daughter that I will never ever get back,” Charles Jones said. “She was my pride and my joy, that’s what made me happy and I will never be the same man again not without my daughter — y’all ruined my life.”
Needless to say the suspect of the murder of a 17-year old the prior week was indeed upstairs. He was arrested and taken into custody, but at the cost of the world’s most precious gift. The police officer was placed on PAID administrative leave.
It is a story black Americans know far too well. It’s the tragic reality that those stationed to “serve and protect” are executing our people. The boys in blue are acting as uniformed terrorist in our communities. Rarely is there justice for the victim. Instead victory is paraded in blacks faces time and time agian.
Justice has forgotten our addresses.
In 2006 it was unarmed Sean Bell murdered by 50 rounds of bullets at the hands of the New York City police. The three policemen involved were acquitted on all charges for the murder of Bell. Gunned down the night before his wedding. Trying to live life like a model citizen, raise his children and marry his high school sweetheart, but murdered before he had the chance. Murdered with 50 rounds as if one or two would be too little.
Now we’re here, countless unarmed blacks killed since, with a dead child. With very little national attention the story of Aiyana spread like wildfire Sunday night via Twitter. Angry, hurt and sad, people cried out in honor of Aiyana Jones. Justice for Aiyana was the common theme permeating the web.
It was through this forum we united in vocalizing our antipathy for a system targeting and killing black people. How many more of us have to die in the guise of a “tragic accident” or “mistake?” Why are we the only race of people this happens to in massive numbers? Where is the national outcry?
The day after the death of Aiyana I implore people everywhere to remember her name. She was somebody’s daughter, someone’s niece, someone’s granddaughter and someone’s friend. Her life cannot be in vain.
Detroit police robbed Aiyana the chance to ever dance, laugh, cry, jump, play, hug or love again. She will never graduate from high school, attend prom, go off to college, marry or have children. There are too many things she will never be able to do.
Our voices are needed. We must make a stand. Black and brown people of America have to make it loud and clear that we will not stand for our children to be slaughtered by police because they fear the black boogeyman.
Not our children.
“Usually when people are sad, they don’t do anything. They just cry over their condition. But when they get angry, they bring about a change. “ –Malcolm X