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Detroit judge throws out manslaughter charge against cop who killed 7-year-old girl

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Police officer with a gun (Shutterstock)

A judge on Friday tossed out an involuntary manslaughter charge against a Detroit police officer who shot and killed a 7-year-old girl during a 2010 police raid.

Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Gray Hathaway was acting on a motion from the defense as the two-week jury trial headed into closing arguments.

Officer Joseph Weekley still faces a charge of reckless discharge of a firearm in the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Weekley is being retried after a jury failed to reach a verdict last year in the same case.

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Judge Gray Hathaway said she accepted the defense’s reasoning that evidence and testimony did not meet the involuntary manslaughter charge.

Involuntary manslaughter carries a stipulation of willful negligence but “the entire trial has been about the carelessness of the defendant based on his skills… Nowhere did I hear anything about a willful negligence,” Gray Hathaway said.

Prosecutors made an emergency appeal to restore the manslaughter charge, which the judge is expected to review on Monday.

Detroit police were searching for a suspect in the May 2010 fatal shooting of 17-year-old Je’Rean Blake when they stormed Aiyana’s building.

The suspect, Chauncy Owens, was apprehended and later sentenced to life in prison. Aiyana’s father, Charles Jones, was convicted of providing him the murder weapon.

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The retrial of Weekley comes during a national uproar over issues of police brutality and use of excessive force after an officer shot and killed an unarmed teenager in Ferguson, Mo., sparking weeks of unrest.

The Detroit Police Department is transitioning out of more than 10 years of federal oversight after complaints of excessive force.

(Reporting by Fiona Ortiz; editing by Gunna Dickson)

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Militia leader denies that flying a Confederate flag is racist in NBC News exposé

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On MSNBC's Deadline White House Tuesday, correspondent Cal Perry spoke with a militia leader in Kentucky who denied that carrying a Confederate flag was a form of racism.

"There are photos of you carrying Confederate flags," Perry said.

"Some people don't. People in my group are Puerto Rico, Blacks, Cubans, I've got a mixture," said Tara Brandau of the National Patriotic Defense Team militia.

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A "self-help" guru convicted of running a cult-like organization of sex slaves who were branded with his initials was sentenced to 120 years in prison by a New York judge Tuesday.

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Voice of America's chief vowed Tuesday to defend the broadcaster's journalistic independence after an appointee of President Donald Trump said he was removing a "firewall" that prohibits political interference in US-funded media.

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He said he was rescinding a regulation prohibiting the CEO's editorial involvement that had been set by a previous board, which had supervised US broadcasting until June when the Republican-led Senate confirmed Pack to the newly created position.

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