Family of man killed in Austin plans to resubmit evidence

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The family of a man receiving a $4.5 million settlement from the city for his shooting death by Chicago police officers plans to resubmit evidence to the Independent Police Review Authority.

Although the review authority determined the officers were justified in shooting 34-year-old Freddie Wilson, attorney Antonio M. Romanucci, of Romanucci & Blandin law firm, said the family still wants those responsible held accountable.

Wilson was killed Nov. 13, 2007, after being pulled over in the 100 block of North Lorel Avenue. He was shot 18 times by three officers – Jason Santiago, Tomslav Vidljinevic and Guadalupe DeLeon – at the scene, Romanucci said.

He said the none of the officers was disciplined for their roles in the shooting.

“The officers were taken off patrol for the standard 24 to 72 hours,” Romanucci said. “This is the basic amount of time any officer involved in a shooting gets.”

Tracy Siska, executive director of Chicago Justice Project, said there have been several instances when the review authority has found officers justified in their actions and the city still approved a settlement, as has happened in the Wilson case.

“I’m not sure what the organization is for in that respect,” Siska said. “They look at it in the best possible light of the officer.”

He said since the review authority has already reviewed Wilson’s case, it’s unlikely there will be a different outcome this time.

Larry Merritt, a spokesman for the review authority, said he was unaware of individuals resubmitting evidence once cases had already been reviewed.

“If it’s closed and it was found justifiable, there’s not much the review authority can do,” Merritt said.

Romanucci said even though the review authority found the officers’ actions justified, contradictions in their statements came to light later.

“During the litigation, we brought forth substantial evidence that Freddie couldn’t have had possession of the gun, but the officers shot at him from three different directions,” the lawyer said.

Wilson’s five children, ranging from 7 to 19, will receive equal shares of the settlement.

“The money has been put in trust funds for the children’s use only,” Romanucci said. “It is intended to be a legacy for Wilson to his children.”

He said though there is a sense of closure with the city paying out such a substantial amount, Wilson’s two oldest children are taking it the hardest.

“They have a clear recollection of their dad,” Romanucci said. “They are very upset and want to know why their dad was killed.”

LaTee Wilson, Freddie’s 19-year-old son, remembers his father as an incredible artist.

“That’s one of the things I admired him for,” LaTee Wilson said. “He didn’t curse in his songs, and they had a very positive influence.”

He said even though the settlement is going to help him, and his four brothers and sisters, it will not bring his father back.

“Whatever comes is in God’s hands,” he said about the family asking for the review authority to reconsider the case.

“I pray the officers have good lives and make good choices in the future.”

LaTee Wilson said if the review authority still finds the officers were justified in their actions, there is nothing more the family can do.

But he said, “karma does not forget an address.”

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