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Black D.C. firefighter to be released from prison after officer lied

A judge will release Elon Wilson from prison after finding out that Officer Jonathan Freitag lied about his 2018 traffic stop.

Fairfax County Police Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

A former Washington D.C. firefighter is set to be released from prison after the arresting officer was found to be lying about what really happened during the traffic stop.

According to multiple reports, Steve Descano, Commonwealth Attorney of Fairfax County, asked a judge to release Elon Wilson, a Black man, from prison after finding out that Officer Jonathan Freitag lied about their 2018 encounter.

“He was a real stand-up firefighter for the District of the Columbia, a really good man, well-liked by his community, well-regarded by the fire department. A man who put his life on the line on a regular basis to help the citizens of the District of Columbia and it was all shattered by this case,” said Marvin Miller, Wilson’s attorney.

Back in 2018, Wilson was reportedly pulled over by Freitag during a traffic stop. The officer claimed that Wilson crossed the solid yellow line and had windows that were tinted darker than the state’s legal limit.

During an internal review with the Fairfax County Police Department, Freitag admitted that Wilson’s car never went over the line and that he never tested his windows. The former firefighter was sentenced to three years behind bars for possession of guns and drugs.

Wilson, who had a clean record at the time, plead guilty to the charges, in fear that he would serve more than 10 years in prison. “Because Elon Wilson was not the only individual in the car, there is real doubt he was guilty of anything at all. The only reason that he plead guilty is because the culture in office and it threatened Mr. Wilson with mandatory sentences that were more than 10 years,” said Descano.

Since uncovering Freitag’s lie, Descano learned that the officer has had a history of racially motivated traffic stops. They are now reviewing over 400 cases that he was a part of. “I can’t say how many of them are racially motivated. What I can say is that when you take a look at them, there’s definitely a racial despair impact and with that level of strong impact and with that level of strong impact, one can conclude very reliably what the motivation was,” he said.

Freitag resigned from the Fairfax County Police Department three years ago. He is currently under investigation, but has not been charged with any crime.

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