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Detroit suburb makes $1.25M deal in fatal police shooting

DETROIT — A Detroit suburb agreed to a $1.25 million settlement in a lawsuit filed by the family of a woman who was fatally shot by police near a shopping mall, according to a document released Thursday.

A Dearborn officer repeatedly shot Janet Wilson while she was in her car on Michigan Avenue, a busy street, in 2016. Police were pursuing the 31-year-old after a dispute was reported nearby at Fairlane Mall.

A judge approved a settlement between Dearborn and Wilson's family on Jan. 10. But U.S. District Judge Bernard Friedman honoured the parties' request to keep the details confidential. The deal was released under a public records request by The Associated Press.

No criminal charges were filed against police. Wayne County prosecutor Kym Worthy said Wilson "exhibited erratic and aggressive behaviour " at the mall and drove her car toward the officer. A state police spokesman, Lt. Mike Shaw, said Wilson was "armed with a 3-ton vehicle."

Legal standards, however, are different in a lawsuit. Dearborn denied liability but said it agreed to the settlement to "amicably resolve" the dispute. The payment will be a mix of tax dollars and insurance money. Wilson was survived by her mother and six siblings.

In 2015, a month before Wilson was killed, another Dearborn officer fatally shot a man after a foot chase and physical struggle. Worthy said the officer had a legitimate fear that Kevin Matthews would get his gun.

A lawsuit against the city is pending.

In 2016, the U.S. Justice Department expressed confidence in Dearborn police but said it would review the department's use-of-force policies and give advice.


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