Family of woman shot by police near Fairlane: 'She was murdered'

The family of a woman who allegedly tried to run down police outside Fairlane Town Center is speaking out.

- An independent investigation underway into the death of a Detroit woman shot and killed by Dearborn police Wednesday night. Janet Wilson allegedly tried to run over officers with her car outside Fairlane Mall on Hubbard Drive near the Southfield freeway.

But some are questioning how police handled it. "She was murdered," said Daryl Burke, a close family friend. "That's how I feel. She was murdered."

That's the same word used Thursday by the family of Wilson, 31.

"She didn't have any reason to die," Burke said. "Not like that."

Michigan State Police is now investigating the shooting and says Wilson was seen inside Fairlane mall acting belligerent.

Security called police, but Wilson, almost hitting a security guard, drove off. She eventually was chased down and stopped on Hubbard by Dearborn Police.

Michigan State Police called Wilson's car -  her weapon.

"They actually got one of her doors open and were attempting to arrest her," said Lt. Mike Shaw, Michigan State Police. "When traffic cleared, she accelerated almost striking another Dearborn officer that was out on foot.

"At which time one of the officers on scene discharged their duty weapon."

On Thursday the Wayne County Medical Examiner ruled Wilson's death a homicide. Sources say she was shot at least twice in the torso.

"There could've been a prevention of her being murdered," said friend Lorraine Bell.

FOX 2: "You're using the word murder?"

"Yes, because that's the way I feel," Bell said. "I feel like she was murdered."

Wilson's family is planning her funeral, says  she was schizophrenic and was prescribed medication, calling her harmless. Friends say she always kept to herself.

FOX 2: "You weren't afraid of her?"

"No," Bell said.

Now activists are rallying around Wilson's family, demanding answers from Dearborn police, recalling the officer-involved shooting of Kevin Matthews just last month.

"We see now  with this pattern in less than 40 days two people killed," said Chris White of the Detroit Coalition Against Police Brutality. "And both are mentally challenged. That's unacceptable."

Some activists are asking for police training to deal with the mentally ill and for Dearborn Police Chief Ronald Haddad to resign. 

Michigan State Police is assuring a thorough and transparent investigation will be conducted.

"It's totally unfair to look at this and say No. 1 that the driver is at fault," Shaw said. "It is unfair to say that because we don't know. But it is equally unfair at this point to say that the officer is at fault."

Haddad added the department is deeply saddened by the two shootings and is examining their policies. In a release, he said: 

"We will closely examine all of our policies and procedures to ensure that we are employing the latest training and following national best practices in all of our responsibilities to the community."

Although the autopsy is complete, a toxicology report may take up to a month for results.
 


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