A federal jury awarded damages in the amount of $333,000 to a Chicago area family due to a police raid that resulted in the shooting of their family dog.
In February 2009, Chicago police officers were executing a search warrant at the home of teenage brothers Thomas and Darren Russell. The search warrant applied to both units on the property – the one belonging to the Russells and another unit. When Thomas Russell answered the door to officers with guns drawn, he requested permission to lock up his dog, Lady, prior to the officers’ entry into the apartment. The request was denied. Moments later, when the dog came around a corner wagging her tail, one of the officers involved in the search shot and killed her.
Subsequently, “Thomas Russell was arrested and charged with obstructing police but was
later found not guilty. No drugs were found in the Russell family’s
apartment, though police recovered drugs in the building’s other unit,
the family’s lawyers said,” according to the Chicago Tribune.
The Russell family filed a lawsuit alleging excessive force, false arrest and illegal seizure. According to the family’s Chicago personal injury attorneys, the brothers did nothing wrong the evening of the raid and fully cooperated with police. It would appear that the jury deciding this case agreed, awarding Thomas and Darren Russell $175,000 and $85,000 respectively and their parents each $35,000. Additionally, the family was awarded $2,000 in punitive damages, levied against the officer who shot the dog and $1,000 against the supervisor who decided to arrest Thomas Russell.
A spokeswoman for the city’s Law Department has expressed dissatisfaction with the result, indicating that the damages awarded are “excessive.”
In situations where an individual feels that they have been subjected to pain and suffering due to the action of another, Chicago personal injury attorneys may be able to help. While nothing can right a a wrong like the loss of a family pet, holding a group or individual accountable can help ease pain and suffering.