A former D.C. firefighter sentenced to jail for possession of drugs and guns is expected to be freed from jail after evidence surfaced that the officer who pulled him over in Virginia lied about the reason for the traffic stop.
Early one April morning in 2018, Elon Wilson was pulled over in Fairfax County. He and his passenger were searched, and an officer found prescription pills and guns.
Wilson was sentenced to more than three years in jail.
His attorney says he was a stand-up guy with a clean record.
“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,” Marvin D. Miller said.
Prosecutors have learned the officer who pulled him over, Jonathan Freitag, was under investigation by Fairfax County and the FBI.
“Unconstitutional stop after unconstitutional stop,” Fairfax County Commonwealth’s Attorney Steve Descano said. “Potentially racial biased motive and racial disparate impacts, and it was just systemic.”
Freitag resigned from the Fairfax County Police Department and has not been charged with any crimes.
In court Friday, prosecutors and the defense argued Wilson’s conviction should be thrown out.
“It does a disservice, not only to the defense, but also to the prosecution and to the community,” Miller said.
Judge Daniel Ortiz said he intends to throw out the judgement against Wilson in the next few days, freeing Wilson early next week.
“I’d rather move forward with this as quickly as possible given the issues involved and Mr. Wilson’s liberties,” Ortiz said.
Prosecutors are reviewing some 400 other convictions with Freitag’s name on them, saying they can’t trust any work Freitag did in Fairfax County.
After Freitag resigned, he was hired as a deputy with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office in Florida. The office says it fired Freitag April 1 when it learned about the investigation in Fairfax.
“We have confirmed that Mr. Freitag did not accurately represent his employment status with the Fairfax County Police Department during his background process with the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office,” the office said in a statement. “We have also confirmed that a letter Mr. Freitag provided Brevard County background investigators outlining his inaccurate employment status led them to the Fairfax County Government Human Resources Department rather than the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau.”
According to the she sheriff’s office, documentation in the police personnel file that said Freitag did not leave the department in good standing was not in his human resources file.
Brevard County said it hasn’t uncovered any wrongdoing by Freitag, but it’s still investigating.