Murder Victim’s Family Accepts $1.07 Million Settlement from Oakland County
(Crystal A. Proxmire, Oct. 11, 2017)
Madison Heights, MI – A lawsuit brought by the family of Shelley Hilliard against Oakland County has ended with a $1.07 million settlement. 19-year-old Hilliard was murdered after a Madison Heights police officer revealed that she was the informant in a drug bust in Oct. 2011.
The civil suit, filed in Feb 2013 and amended in Oct. 2013, described how Hilliard had agreed to contact Qasim “Red” Raqib about purchasing drugs after she herself had been busted for marijuana. Madison Heights Police Officer Chad Wolowiec, who now works for Warren Police, “made these disclosures to Red (the killer) through Red’s associate and companion, despite knowing that doing so would significantly increase the risk, and indeed the likelihood of serious bodily injury and/or death to Shelly Hilliard,” according to the court filing.
Raquib was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 to life in prison. Hilliard’s family brought suit against Madison Heights and Oakland County. In January 2016 a Federal Appeals Court refused to dismiss the case against Oakland County, stating that a jury could find that there was “blatant exposure” of Hilliard as the source and that there was “deliberate indifference” to her safety. Oakland County agreed to pay $1.07 million. Madison Heights settled their portion of the suit for $20,000.
Attorney Katherine Bruner James of Goodman Hurwitz & James, P.C. represented Hilliard’s family. “Cases like this matter because it’s the best tool we have to effectuate change that could prevent another tragedy like this in the future. I would imagine that Oakland County does not want to face future lawsuits, and so they will hopefully revamp their training for how they use confidential informants — to avoid hastily planned operations when there