DEARBORN (WWJ/AP) – The city of Dearborn has reached a settlement with the family of a woman who was fatally shot by police near a shopping mall in 2016.
In a court filing Thursday, attorneys said they would provide details to federal Judge Bernard Friedman, but they want him to keep the information confidential and off the public record.
Dearborn Police Officer James Wade repeatedly shot 31-year-old Janet Wilson while she was in her car on a busy street. Police were pursuing her after a dispute was reported inside and outside Fairlane Mall.
No criminal charges were filed in the shooting. Prosecutor Kym Worthy said Wilson “exhibited erratic and aggressive behavior” at the mall and drove her car toward the officer.
Wilson’s family was seeking damages of $10 million in a wrongful death lawsuit.
According to the lawsuit, Wilson was departing the Fairlane parking lot on Jan. 27, 2016 when mall security reported a “disorderly mental female” to Dearborn police. The lawsuit alleges that officers, including Wade, responded to the call and surrounded Wilson’s vehicle along Hubbard Drive, approaching her “with guns drawn and yelling at her.”
Wilson, who was unarmed, remained in her vehicle momentarily before being shot multiple times, resulting in her death, according to the lawsuit. It was the second fatal shooting by a Dearborn police officer in less than two months.
Immediately after the incident, Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said the shooting followed a police chase that began with an incident at JC Penny in the mall. According to witnesses, Wilson “was acting suspiciously” inside the store, security was notified, and security guards followed the woman out into the parking lot. She got into her vehicle, Shaw said — a Chevy HHR — and “almost struck” one of the guard’s vehicles while driving away.
After 911 was called, Dearborn police tried to make a traffic stop on Hubbard Drive, but Wilson disregarded the lights and sirens, Shaw said. And when she got stuck in traffic, officers got out of their vehicles and tried to put an end to the pursuit.
“So, as they came and approached the vehicle, the traffic cleared up for her. One of the officers was in front of the car…and as she kind of proceeded on, or tried to hit the gas, and almost struck that officer, one of the officers on the scene fired his duty weapon, striking and killing her,” Shaw said.
Although Wilson was unarmed, Shaw noted that “she had a 3,000-pound weapon called a vehicle.”
Wilson is survived by her mother and six siblings.
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