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Conflicting Accounts of Freddie Wilson's Shooting

By Margaret Lyons in News on Nov 15, 2007 6:00PM

2007_11_15.shooting.jpgAn investigation is underway in death of 34-year-old Freddie "Latee" Wilson, whom police shot and killed Tuesday night. It's the newly-formed (well, newly named at least) Independent Police Review Authority's first case, so Ilana Rosenzweig and her agency are under a lot of pressure to handle this appropriately--and quickly.

Wilson's family and friends say he was "getting his life together" after a few stints in prison and was now a role model and mentor for neighborhood kids. So far, there are conflicting reports about how the shooting actually went down, and given the new policy that the IPRA handles all police comments on the incident, info from the CPD side is pretty limited.

Rosenzweig says two uniformed officers stopped Wilson for a traffic stop, and two more officers joined them a short time later. Shortly thereafter, three of the four officers opened fire. Rosenzweig says investigators recovered a gun from the scene, but at least one witness says she didn't see Wilson with a gun. Another witness told CBS2 "He was holdin' his hands up, lettin' the officers know he didn't have a gun or anything on him. They kept on firing anyway." Some reports estimate 15 shots were fired; others put it closer to 8, and Rosenzweig won't say, saying the investigation is on-going.

Police-involved shootings can be controversial, to put it mildly. All eyes are on the IPRA, and the agency has a big job ahead, whatever the circumstances: If this was a clean shooting for the CPD, then the IPRA is going to have to demonstrate that effectively to the community. But if it wasn't a justified shooting, then the IPRA has to prove it can investigate the CPD fairly.