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Aunt speaks out after nephew was killed by officers


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    SAGINAW, Michigan (WNEM) — For the first time, a mid-Michigan woman is speaking out after her nephew was shot and killed by police.

Earlier this month, a district court judge approved a more $510,000 settlement in the death of Zane Blaisdell.

48-year-old Zane Blaisdell loved photography, music, art, and animals.

“He was just a good person.–What did you love the most about him? His sense of humor,” said Zane’s aunt, Mia Blaisdell.

Blaisdell loved her nephew and though it did not define him, she said he suffered from mental illness.

“His mental illness didn’t actually show itself and become a major issue for him until after his grandmother and mother passed,” Blaisdell said.

Blaisdell said he had been laid off from his job and one day in February 2020 Zane had a mental health crisis at his Saginaw home. Police said Zane took his partner hostage.

He eventually let them go, Saginaw police sent in the K-9 unit.

“Obviously you feel they shouldn’t have sent in the K-9 unit on him. No. Because they knew he was in a mental health crisis. –He didn’t pose a threat to anyone. He just retreated back into the house and he was alone,” Blaisdell said.

Zane stabbed the K-9, Deebo, in the head. Police shot Zane 12 times, killing him.

The prosecutor’s office ruled it a justified shooting and did not pursue criminal charges against the officers.

“They all looked at it and said ‘oh this is ok, this is justified in every way’ and I do not want to see how they can look at the body cam and dash cam and see that,” Blaisdell said.

That’s why Blaisdell filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the department and city. The court and Saginaw City Council approved of a $510,000 settlement.

Blaisdell said no amount of money will bring her nephew back and feels as though justice for Zane has yet to truly be served.

“My whole goal was to make sure they were accountable, and this situation doesn’t transpire again. That somebody else doesn’t lose a family member,” Blaisdell said.

She believes there could’ve been a peaceful solution and is calling for action.

“There has to be some sort of police reform. There has to be some sort of accountability. — People with mental illness, disabilities, they have rights too,” Blaisdell said.

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