Monday, May 17, 2010

Money for an accidental death? What do you think?

HERE is a truly awful and very sad story from which I've pasted the following paragraphs in italics:

DETROIT – A sleeping 7-year-old girl was shot and killed when an officer's gun went off while Detroit police were searching a duplex for a suspect in the slaying of a teenager, a police official said. Assistant Chief Ralph Godbee said at a news conference Sunday that Aiyana Jones was hit in the neck by a single bullet and died at a hospital. Police said the girl was sleeping on a couch when she was shot. The article goes on to say:

"We cannot undo what occurred this morning," Godbee said. "All we can do is to pledge an open and full investigation and to support Aiyana's family in whatever way they may be willing to accept from us at this time."

I got to pondering this and wondered about money. Do you think it's right for people to demand money for the death of a human being? There is no mention of this in the article, I have no reason to believe the parents will be asking for anything, but I got to thinking about it and I know this is a loaded subject and I wondered what you think...........thanks.

(also, please see the short post below, thanks SO much)



Tom said...

You're right, of course money can never replace the loss of a fellow human being - and doesn't ever represent the value of a person either. Rather, in a system based on monetary exchange, it's the only way apart from incarceration to punish the responsible parties for their transgressions - while also rendering some relief to a victim (if survives) or his/her/their family. Is it a perfect system, that conveys perfect lessons - not at all. But it's the best civilized way of both ensuring we don't return to the old ways of "an eye for an eye" as well as deterring those who may act with irresponsible violence otherwise (but obviously sh*t happens occasionally, as in your cited tragedy).

beamish said...

If I didn't have the personal experience of seeing the ceiling of the St. Louis police department shooting range Swiss cheesed with bulletholes from sub-intelligent "peace officers" trying to quick draw, I'd ask for benefit of the doubt. But, I don't give police officers the benefit of the doubt, at all, and having "accidents" with firearms they're allegedly trained to use only serves to reinforce my dim view of them.

Money won't bring the child back to life, but the cost of the settlement may interest the community to improve the quality of personnel employed by them to act in police roles, so that cops aren't "accidently" shooting people with the gun in their hand.

Another eye-roller, Z.

JINGOIST said...

It really does depend on the EXACT circumstances of the officer's gun going off "accidentally."

If the mother or grandma reached for the officer's gun and a struggle for that weapon resulted in the discharge of the weapon, then there's absolutely no money.

If the officer drew his weapon clear of interference and accidentally shot the girl, then there needs to be some compensation for the family AND a thorough review for the officer's competance with his .40 cal. That would be pathetic.

Open Mouth Insert Foot said...

I would have to agree with you all the way, this has gotten out of hand.

Sam Huntington said...

Most police officers go through an entire career without having to draw their weapons in a life-threatening environment. A friend of mine who retired from the LAPD years ago said, “Police work is months of utter boredom interspersed by seconds of sheer terror.” That said, we ought to keep in mind that police officers are human beings; they are subject to all the things any other person experiences. How many accidental discharges occur in the USA every year?

We might suppose the officer was experiencing an adrenalin rush; the pull of the trigger might have been an involuntary twitch, or he might have lost his footing for a second, or someone might have shoved him from behind. Any number of things could have caused the gun to fire unintentionally. So I won’t rush to judgment; I will expect the city to disburse a just compensation to the family; I will pray that the officer can one day forgive himself for what he’s done.

I have seen what happens to families suddenly compensated to the tune of millions when something like this occurs —it isn’t a pretty sight. I will pray for their wisdom as well.

FairWitness said...

Several questions come to mind:

1. Were police at the right or wrong address?

2. Was the grandmother, who came in physical contact with the officer whose weapon discharged, actively interfering or resisting?

3. Is this family associated with the 32 year old suspect who killed the 17 year old?

4. Did they capture the suspect at this apartment?

5. Had the suspect been there and fled?

There is not enough information to pass judgment in my view.

If this forced entry was the wrong address, then there's definitely police culpability & a recoverable event occurred. If the grandmother was not resisting, but rather accidently collided with the officer and the firearm went off, again, I think the police are responsible.

If this family is associated with the 32 year old suspect and harbored him, then that puts a different slant on the whole event. If that is the case, then the family put all those kids in danger by giving the suspect refuge.

This article is missing key facts of the case.

As to whether one should collect funds for the death of a human being, it all depends. If my child was sleeping innocently in my home and was accidently killed by police, I don't think it would be unreasonable to seek damages; funeral expenses, pain & suffering, etc. BUT only IF I was not involved with the suspected killer.

IF I had helped the suspect, if the suspect was in my home, then I'd have to accept responsibility for what happened -- to some degree.

Ducky's here said...

It would be more reasonable to put the cop up on negligent manslaughter charges, but that won't happen.

FairWitness said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FairWitness said...

Reasonable to file negligent manslaughter charges against the police officer? Without yet knowing all the facts? I think the investigation needs to be conducted first.

You're jumping the gun.

However, if this officer is guilty of intentionally or recklessly firing his weapon, then charges will be filed. But, come on!

That officer did not mean to shoot and kill an innocent, sleeping 7 year old girl.

Ducky's here said...

That's why it's "negligent" manslaughter.

Bloviating Zeppelin said...

". . .I have no reason to believe the parents will be asking for anything. . ."

Oh please, Geez, you don't really believe that do you? It will be ALL about the money. When people say "it's not the money," it IS the money.

Detroit is a loser city with a loser mayor and administration. The City of Detroit is one step away from federal takeover. The police and every other agency are rife with demoralized, poorly trained and sub-par personnel. That is well known in my circle. Only a MASSIVE infusion of cash will possibly turn things around OR a federal takeover which will, again, require MASSIVE cash amounts.

Accidents happen, but considering their past and current situation, I'd say the incident is a combination of training and incompetence.

When torts in law enforcement occur, they are predicated upon the Big Three negligents:

- Improper hiring;
- Negligent retention;
- Failure to train

Simple as that.


Z said...

BZ: "This was a wrongful death." was the dad's comment, so I figure he knows enough about the law or how people can ask for compensation TO be suing, and fairly quickly. I only meant I didn't know for sure they'd sue, there's no mention of it in the article.

I suppose most of you are right about an accidental shooting, I just can't imagine they don't happen sometimes even with the best trained cop in the confusion of a grenade and hopped up emotions after running around looking for a killer........I don't know.

If we can't train better than this, however, where do we go? I mean, we slam our soldiers before they're found guilty, we're slamming this cop before details are known, and some of you tell me it's just plain bad police training and it'll take big money to train correctly. NOW WHAT? Are we living in that unsafe a situation?

Tom, I just can't see how the city of LA's coming up with the millions we'll have to come up with now because of that shooting punishes the responsible party, though I guess he'd be put on at least temporary leave (with pay, probably!?) That's a punishment?:-)
It is the only way to do it, I guess...and it's a bad one, in my opinion.

SAM...wise words there, especially about families who do suddenly get windfalls like this..thanks for that input and it's always good to see you here.

OPen Mouth...real out of hand.

FairWitness, I think there was mention that the perp was upstairs in an apt, if I remember correctly, But you're right...if they were at all responsible for hiding him, they'd bear some guilt in this, too, I think.

I think Negligent Homicide might be filed, who knows?
Still, should there be monetary compensation, Ducky?

Z said...

In what a police spokesman called every parent's—and police officer's—nightmare, Detroit cops accidentally shot to death a 7-year-old girl yesterday in the midst of a hunt for a homicide suspect. Aiyana Jones was sleeping on a couch when police threw a flash grenade through a front window of her home that landed on the girl, burning her. An officer then stormed into the house, wrestled with Aiyana's grandmother, and his gun went off, killing the girl.

Police had a warrant to search the house and later found the suspect, the fiance of Aiyana's aunt. Neighbors said they warned police there were children in the house and pointed out toys in the yard. Police now fear anger over the shooting will erupt in riots in the streets, they told the Detroit News.The shooting is the latest evidence that violence is spiraling out of control in the city, the Detroit Free Press reports... officer "stormed into the house and wrestled with the grandmother"......what, for the wrestling cup? He just burst in and started wrestling with A GRANDMOTHER? I'm thinking maybe the grandmother had to have started that, don't you?!

AHA..And "...later found the suspect, the fiance of Aiyana's aunt"

So, it appears he WAS in their apartment, FairWitness... the plot thickens.

See any anti-cop bias in the article :-)??
Beamish, I know you hate the cops and seem to have good reason but this kind of article is pretty typical of how the media treats them.

And now, of course, there's this from that quote above "The shooting is the latest evidence that violence is spiraling out of control in the city, the Detroit Free Press reports..."

I'm thinking they don't quite mean POLICE violence, but the article makes it look like that.
WOW. I never cease to be surprised and I always wonder when I'm going to stop being surprised at our media.

Ducky's here said...

Detroit is a loser city with a loser mayor and administration.


So just pop a cap in the kids. Problem solved, eh zep?

She was just a loser anyway.

cube said...

The girl's death is a horrible tragedy for the family, for sure,
but without knowing the circumstances or the shooting, I can't formulate an opinion. There will be an investigation.

Anonymous said...

It's much too bad, but as the saying goes SHIT HAPPENS!

Offering remuneration right away is cheaper than defending a lawsuit.

The family was probably involved in criminal activity and on public assistance anyway.

Poor little girl! I hope she never knew what hit her.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

PS: If the PARENTS don't think of asking for any "reward" for their pain and suffering, you can be sure some ACTIVIST will jump into it and bray all over national TV about "police brutality" as though it were all a DELIBERATE PLOT to thin out the population of Welfare Cases.

No claim to have seen CROSS BURNINGS in the area before this happened?


~ FT

Brooke said...

There is NO SUCH THNG as an 'accidental discharge'.

Although I don't know how one could put a price on the life of their child.


Anonymous said...

Phillipians IV: 8, 9

"8 ... whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.

9 Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.


~ FreeThinke

beamish said...


I'm pretty sure if the cops popped a flashbanger through the window of my home and set a sleeping kid on fire before kicking the door in I'd welcome them all in for coffee and cake.

By my tolerance for excessive force from incompetent government agents is second only in size to my mouth for sarcasm.

Z said...

Beamish, you make a good point, I'm just trying to picture my grandmother jumping at a cop.....naa..can't see it.

I think I blogged this too early to have enough facts...but my main point was to ask if money is appropriate in ANY case.

I think most of your comments make good sense, thanks.
You can rest assured, however, that this family will become quite rich as they mourn their little girl. There's no way to put that where I don't sound condemning...I guess I could say that this family will need the money to get over this, that doesn't sound right, either.

FairWitness said...

If the police knew there were children in that home, couldn't they have staked the place out and waited for the perpetrator to leave the premises?

How about just knocking on the door and gaining entry in a civilized manner? The fact that there was evidence of children present in the yard makes me very uneasy about the assault tactics used.

Was the 32 year old murder suspect that dangerous that these dangerous methods were called for? What about the family history with police at that address, had there been a prior criminal history?

Perhaps the police entry plan didn't anticipate there being a sleeping child on the couch in the living room.

We still need more information. But that grandmother should be arrested for resisting arrest, assault on a police officer, etc. You don't fight a police officer who has his gun drawn, you'll get your ass shot or worse your 7 year old granddaughter will get killed.

Susannah said...

Without having read the other comments, & w/o any legal expertise re: what a family is technically 'entitled' to...If a person is a breadwinner/provider for his/her family, then absolutely there should be some sort of financial awarding, to compensate for lost livelihood, family support, etc. Punitive damages, though? Not for something that was accidental...

As for the life of a child, no amount of $$ could compensate. Financial gain in this instance would be a terrible insult. That's just me.

Susannah said...

Now that I've read the comments, you all have made some really good points...the one that jumps out @ me most is what FairWitness said, "IF I had helped the suspect, if the suspect was in my home, then I'd have to accept responsibility for what happened -- to some degree."

Ouch. Bingo. But it'll never happen.

Doesn't seem that any of us here has enough info. to make concrete judgments about this partic. case, though.

Z said...

Susannah, you're so I'd commented earlier "I think I blogged this too early to have enough facts...but my main point was to ask if money is appropriate in ANY case."

I'm asking to think beyond the money EVER appropriate and I'd absolutely agree with very little details known that, if a bread winner is hurt or killed, then the children deserve compensation.
it's the only reason for Germans and their hideous extermination of 6 million Jews, too. I'll take a HUGE leap here on my blog and say that the wealthy Jewish friends I have whose parents still collect from the German government are wrong, IN MY opinion.
On the same token, as an Armenian, I HATE that some Armenians are insisting Turkey admit the genocide; mainly because I think Armenians are going to go after them for MONEY FOR THEIR DEAD ONES...
Now, I think LAND, PROPERTY, should be returned, but imagine that quagmire now that others own what was that of Armenians? The Kurds moved in days after Armenians were marched out of lovely homes full of prized possessions, linens, silver and clothing, and the Kurds just TOOK OVER! Not a bad haul, huh? But, should their families be thrown out and that home be given to some Armenian like me living in LA now? Of course not.

There is NO AMOUNT OF MONEY which can bring my Armenian relatives who were slain back...ZILCH.

Anonymous said...

Sleeping on the couch? Through all the mayhem and cops busting down the door to the house? How can that be?

Just asking.


JINGOIST said...

Z wrote:
"There is NO AMOUNT OF MONEY which can bring my Armenian relatives who were slain back...ZILCH."

Z, it's not very often that we disagree, but we have a disagreement of scale here. I agree with your sentiment above because I absolutely despise the shark lawyer thinking represented by some of the commercials and litigation that we hear about.

BUT, some amount of renumeration represents simple justice, where the offender nation who commits genocide pays actual victim families who have had loved ones murdered in cold blood and had their possessions stolen by the state.

I would have loved to see Turkey pay immediate relatives of Armenians slaughtered...but that time has passed.

The same holds true for Japan and the atrocities they comitted in China and Korea. It went waaaaay beyond simple warfare.

I'll NEVER forget watching my grandparents show me the list of cousins, aunts uncles etc. who were murdered in Aushchvitz, Bergen-Belsen, you name it. It was REAL and heart wrenching to them because they remembered these people! And they numbered over 17 if I remember correctly.

None of my older relatives recieved money from Germany, but they all had relatives murdered.

Ironically my mom's folks were mostly German Protestants and they would have been paying my dad's folks the reparations. What a cluster!

Anyways there has to be SOME limit to who gets the reparations. I'd never pay the grandkids or cousins.

Z said...

Jingo, we do not disagree. I think that generation DID deserve anything they could get from Germany! But, I do think Armenians today are ONLY going for the bucks..what the heck good will Turkey's admittance do NOW?
By the way, if Turkey does admit to the genocide, there's a very good chance they'll get into the EU, it's one of the stumbling blocks today...and then, Europe will be FINISHED because, as you know, no EU country members need passports to cross the borders between Eu countries...You'll be able to stick a fork in Europe, because it'll be DONE when all the muslims swarm over the continent and move into those mosques they've been building already waiting for that day. If MY PEOPLE had to die and their deaths can keep Europe freer than it would least they didn't die for nothing.
And, you're right....grandchildren should not be included in remuneration but many families still do get money.
Why didn't your family?

Your mother was Protestant?

I am always touched by your comments especially on my Sunday Faith Blog and have mentioned this to friends in 'real life' Jewish friend who has such respect and love of our faith. I admire you SO much...for many things. (You know I wish I could meet your Dad, too!!)

Ducky's here said...

Well according to the article the cops were told there were children in the apartment and they went in with the flash grenades anyway.

Better have been after one seriously dangerous m**** to take that kind of risk or did they just enjoy the hunt?

Without monetary damages there isn't much deterrent because it is highly unlikely there will be any serious disciplining.

Z said...

but, Ducky, the cops themselves don't pay, you know that.

As I said, there are conflicting stories and, of course, NOBODY will be on the cops' side in that apartment building..although one witness did say they heard them yell/announce that they were coming in.

It's a tough one, for sure, this money for life thing.

JINGOIST said...

Z I wasn't aware of the Turkey/EU angle and it's relation to the genocide issue. That's a very informative and thoughtful tact you've taken. Thanks to you Z, I've just learned something today.

Thanks SO much for your kind words. I wish i was capable of living up to them more often. I truly enjoy your take on matters!

Anonymous said...

News Flash...I just heard that Al Sharpton should be on a Greyhound bus shortly to stage an anti "killer" cop rally in Duhtroit.

Poor Al...he must be so tired from defending illegals,criminals and the millions of injustices all across America. Here's hoping he has a PopEyes accident on the bus.

Anonymous said...

Completely apart from this case, money in compensation for the life of a child would never work for me. It would add insult to injury.

I've spent untold thousands working through my grief, and would needs thousands more to deal with the shame of accepting money to absolve the guilty party of the death of my child, were that the case.

I'd like to think that I'd fight to the end.

FairWitness said...

About getting money for the death of a loved one, Z, can you tell us just exactly how much money you would have to be paid to make up for the death of your dear Mr. Z? I sure as hell couldn't think of an amount. Furthermore, to accept said settlement would so cheapen the man's value, don't you think? How's that for thought-provocation?

Z said...

Jingo, you're stuck with me as your biggest fan, get used to it :-)

Jen, you're the PERFECT person to comment on this and it's right on the money, not off lost your dear Angel baby.......$$ ?? NO WAY.

FairWitness, right now, I'd give every penny I have to get my Mr. Z BACK. No, there's no amount of money that could make his passing up to me. Matter of fact, there's some insurance money and I cry every time I have to transfer that into my bank account...HE should have enjoyed this money....God bless him.

FairWitness said...

That's exactly the point I thought you'd make, Z. Money, money, money... It's no substitute for the loss of a loved one. Money can smile at you, can't hug you, can't keep you warm at night.

It's not the answer.

Z said...

it sure isn't. It REALLY so isn't.

Anonymous said...

You know, I guess it's easy to say you'd sue, but that is a long painful process in itself I would think.

Years, usually. When can you grieve? How can you deal with the pain of losing someone you love and think about money?

Does the money become everything? Maybe, if you're immersed in a lawsuit, talking with lawyers, dealing with the system, and your child is gone.

If it wasn't accidental I'd want the killer dead. No money, justice.

Either way, there is no compensation which can ease your loss. None.


Anonymous said...

Horrific and depressing stories out of Detroit are commonplace. Being a glass-half-full type of person I think it's a news story when something good and/or unusual happens there — such as the Dearborn gal of Lebanese extract and Islamic faith winning the Miss America Pageant!

A Good News Story, IMO.


Anonymous said...

An openly gay girl won Miss America?

Wow! That is amazing. Was she wearing a baggy sweatshirt, greasy jeans and chomping on a stogie?

The lengths they go to today not to appear bigoted.

Katie Korrupt