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Southfield, Mich. — Aug. 9, 2016 —A. Vince Colella, civil rights attorney and partner with Moss & Colella, P.C., filed a $10M wrongful death lawsuit in federal court on Aug. 4 against the City of Dearborn and Dearborn Police officer James Wade.
The lawsuit arises from the Jan. 27, 2016 fatal shooting of Janet Wilson, 31. According to investigation reports Colella received from the Michigan State Police, Wilson was departing the parking lot of Fairlane Mall when mall security reported a “disorderly mental female” to the Dearborn police dispatch unit. Officers, including Wade, responded to the call and effectuated an ambush-style traffic stop, approaching Wilson with guns drawn and yelling at her. Distraught and in fear, Wilson, who was unarmed, remained in her vehicle momentarily before being shot multiple times by Wade, resulting in her death. It was the second fatal shooting by a Dearborn police officer in less than two months.
The lawsuit notes the intent “…to establish recognition that the shooting of Wilson was unjust and contrary to established law, to secure compensation for these wrongful acts, and to help end the violence perpetrated by the City of Dearborn against the people of this state.”
Despite attempts by Colella to obtain the dash-cam video footage of the incident, the City of Dearborn has refused to release it.
“At such a fragile time in community relations with law enforcement, it is deplorable that any city would refuse the opportunity for transparency,” Colella said.
Colella will seek a federal court order for the release of the dash-cam footage, along with all other investigation materials that have been withheld from his FOIA requests.
About Moss & Colella
Established in 1997, Moss & Colella represents the victims of personal injury, civil rights violations, discrimination and wrongful death. The firm is recognized as a leader in complex tort litigation, including excess and deadly force, jail death, sexual abuse and harassment, auto and truck accidents, and other serious injury and wrongful death claims. To learn more about the firm and its diverse areas of practice, visit the Moss & Colella website.