Family Awarded $333K After Police Killed Dog

One of the teens asked officers to allow him to tie up his dog, says attorney

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Friday, Aug 19, 2011  |  Updated 9:00 AM CDT
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Family Awarded $333K After Police Killed Dog

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A jury awarded a Chicago family $333,000 for the death of their dog at the hands of Chicago police.
 
In February 2009, Thomas Russell III and his brother, Darren, claimed they heard several police officers executing a narcotics warrant in their building’s hallway. They opened the door when they heard someone say “police,” said Amanda Antholt, the family’s attorney, in a statement. 
 
Thomas opened the door. Officers pointed their guns at them and handcuffed Thomas, who was then 18, and Darren, who was 16.

The boys asked officers to allow them to secure their dog. Officers shot and killed the 9-year-old Labrador named Lady, Antholt said.

 
Thomas was arrested and charged with obstructing authorized service of criminal process. The officers testified at trial that Thomas never blocked their entry into his home, and the teen was only handcuffed for safety reasons. Thomas was later found not guilty, she said.
 
A civil jury awarded Thomas $175,000, Darren $85,000, and their parents each received $35,000. The officer who shot and killed the dog was ordered to pay $2,000 in punitive damages and his supervisor $1,000, said Antholt.
 
“We are all grateful to this jury for finally giving this family justice from this nightmare and holding these officers accountable for their misconduct,” said Antholt. 
 

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