September 9, 1984
January 27, 2016
Age at Death:
Janet Wilson was a loving sister and aunt. She worked a job, was fully functioning independently, and owned a car and home despite a mental disability. Her family described her as loving, goofy, funny, and full of joy. Janet loved her life and was said to be quite ambitious.
The tragedy began with Dearborn city police responding to complaints at a Detroit area mall regarding Janet Wilson's yelling at a shop owner and other people. She was removed from the mall and was said to be following the cars of security personnel that had kicked her out. They ended up chasing her car as she fled them and got stuck in traffic. The police cars trapped her car on both sides and they got out to go talk to her. Eventually, traffic ahead cleared and Janet tried to escape while there was one officer on the front right of her vehicle and one going up to her driver's side door. The officer on the right fired five shots into her vehicle which killed her, and he claimed that he feared for his life and that she was "armed with a three-ton vehicle" without any guns or other weapons present.
Was justice served?
Witnesses claim that the officers were not in the way of her vehicle as she accelerated and, therefore she was not trying to hit or injure them. The killing was declared a homicide by the medical examiner on the scene, but the officer who shot and killed Janet did not face any charges. After the shooting, it was also revealed that Janet had a mental disability and had not taken her medication to help it. The state policeman dealing with the case stated, "You have one individual whose family now is mourning their death. You have another individual that had to take somebody’s life. It doesn’t matter if you’re black, yellow, orange, green or brown — that affects all those parties." He then went on to say they would "conduct a fair and impartial investigation." In the end, Janet's family was given $1.25 million in a lawsuit by the city of Dearborn.