Suit to release information filed in Dearborn shooting case
An attorney has filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against Dearborn over evidence in a woman’s fatal shooting by a police officer outside Fairlane mall.
A. Vince Colella of Moss & Colella recently sought evidence, including dash cam video and 911 dispatch audio, in the Jan. 27 incident in which Janet Wilson died. But the city has denied the request under a state statute involving “materials obtained pursuant to an investigative subpoena,” he said Thursday.
Colella claims the items he requested weren’t in that category.
“The dash cam video and audio are ‘records’ required to be maintained by the Dearborn Police Department and were not secured by the city in response to an investigational subpoena,” he said in a statement.
Dearborn Police Chief Ron Haddad, who has asked Michigan State Police to investigate the incident, did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday night.
Messages left for city representatives were not returned.
Police say Janet Wilson, 31, fled from security and officers outside Fairlane Town Center. Witnesses told investigators the Detroiter had seemed “distraught” and incapacitated at the mall.
Michigan State Police said Wilson later appeared to have tried to hit a security guard outside and a vehicle with a Chevrolet HHR, refused to stop for Dearborn police who tried to pull her over, then almost struck an officer while speeding away. An officer pulled out a weapon and shot at her, state police said.
The Wayne County Medical Examiner’s Office determined her death was a homicide, the result of multiple gunshots.
Relatives have acknowledged Wilson had mental issues but could live independently and earned her chauffeur’s license. They described her as a “joyous and happy spirit” and questioned what led the shooting.
As her family demands answers, Colella said he has also requested MSP’s investigation file.
“The government bears a heavy burden of justifying nondisclosure of information requested under FOIA,” he said. “With police violence cases under intense scrutiny, transparency is the cornerstone of maintaining positive community relations with law enforcement. The unnecessary delay in the release of video footage fosters a culture of distrust.”