By Liz Goodwin
A federal jury says Chicago law enforcement must pay $330,000 to a family after officers shot their dog during a home raid that turned up no illegal activity.
Thomas Russell, then 18, opened the door to his home in February 2009 to find police officers with their guns drawn. He asked if he could lock up his 9-year-old black labrador, named Lady, before letting the officers inside. The Chicago Tribune describes what happened next:
Police refused the request and came into the house, the lawsuit said. When Lady came loping around the corner with her tail wagging, Officer Richard Antonsen shot the dog, according to the suit, which alleged excessive force, false arrest and illegal seizure for taking the dog’s life.
The cops handcuffed Russell and his 16-year-old brother, and eventually charged Russell with obstructing their operation. He was found not guilty. According to NBC, the jury awarded $175,000 to Russell, $85,000 to his little brother, and $35,000 each to the brothers’ parents. The officer who shot the dog owes $2,000 in damages, and his supervisor owes $1,000, according to NBC.
A law enforcement spokeswoman told the Tribune that the officers were protecting themselves.