Revolution #232, May 15, 2011

One Year Later


One year ago this month, 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones was spending a special night. Her grandmother was staying overnight, so Aiyana got to stay up late watching TV and to sleep on the couch. This special night was violently interrupted after midnight and turned into a horrible nightmare. A flash bang grenade shot into the house exploded, severely burning little Aiyana, and a gunshot rang out which ended her life.

This murderous assault wasn't carried out by a robbery crew or gangbangers. It was the Detroit Police Department that stole Aiyana's life. The horror didn't end there. The police arrested her grandmother and tested her for drugs and gunpowder residue as part of an unsuccessful attempt to blame her for Aiyana's death. The initial media reports said that the cop's gun had gone off accidentally after Aiyana's grandmother had grabbed it and struggled with him over it. This lie fell apart when the tests on Aiyana's grandmother turned out to be negative.

The horror didn't stop there either. When Aiyana's father came downstairs to find out what had happened, the police forced him to lay face down on the rug that was stained with his daughter's blood. And the cops who ended Aiyana's life were in the wrong apartment. They were serving an arrest warrant for a guy who lived in the upstairs apartment that had a completely separate entrance from Aiyana's.

This entire assault was recorded by a TV crew from a reality police show. The authorities have confiscated their film and refuse to allow anyone to see it. To date, no one, not a single cop or city official, has been punished or reprimanded for this murder.

While the authorities have done nothing to prosecute those who carried this murder out, they have worked overtime to blame Aiyana's family for what their cops did to her. In addition to trying to blame her grandmother, they have demonized and blamed her family. News reports after Aiyana's murder alleged that Aiyana's father may have been involved in the crime for which the guy upstairs was being sought, that there were stolen cars in the yard behind the apartment building where they lived and that the family was "stealing electricity." (By this, they mean their apartment was connected to the city's electricity source, but they weren't paying for the service.) This is both beside the point and sick.

Beside the point because even if someone in Aiyana's home had done something wrong, would that justify cops coming in shooting and blowing away a little girl in the process? Even if there were stolen cars in the backyard, since when is the penalty for car theft murdering your loved ones? And it's sick because the city of Detroit had recently announced a plan to cut off electrical service in sections of the city where the population fell below 20% of its normal level. In these areas, even people who pay their bills will have to choose between leaving their homes, living without electricity or "stealing" it.

The police murder of Aiyana Stanley-Jones was a horrific outrage. And it is typical of the way police brutalize and even murder people in the ghettos and barrios across the U.S. They literally get away with murder. This isn't the work of a few rogue cops—it's the police playing their role of front line enforcers for this system. As Bob Avakian puts it in BAsics, "The role of the police is not to serve and protect the people. It is to serve and protect the system that rules over the people. To enforce the relations of exploitation and oppression, the conditions of poverty, misery and degradation into which the system has cast people and is determined to keep people in. The law and order the police are about, with all of their brutality and murder, is the law and order that enforces all this oppression and madness."

It will take revolution, defeating and dismantling the repressive institutions of this capitalist system and getting rid of the economic and social relations it keeps in effect and replacing it with a new revolutionary authority with radically different economic and social relations, to get rid of the brutality and degradation this system enforces on the Black masses, and everything else foul this system inflicts on humanity.


A call has been issued to mark the anniversary of her murder with demonstrations. The murder of Aiyana is typical of the way police brutalize and even murder people in the U.S., and it concentrates the brutality, misery and degradation this system enforces on Black people. This is unacceptable—it must be opposed.

For more information or to get involved: Call (347) 325-7828, or via email write to, or via Facebook (search for "redeem Aiyana's dream march on America")

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