An Uptown family says a Chicago officer used excessive force and robbed them of potential income when he shot their 7-month-old miniature bull terrier over the weekend.
The dog, Colonel, comes from a championship show line, and while he'll be OK after his surgery, he won't ever be the show dog Al and Barbara Phillips had hoped.
The couple on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against the city and the Chicago Police Department, seeking in excess of $50,000.
Colonel was injured Saturday at about 3 p.m., when Al Phillips came out of his home on the 800 block of West Buena Avenue as Ofc. Brandon Pettigrew was issuing him a parking ticket. According to the lawsuit, the dog, wagging his tail, ran past his owner.
Pettigrew, apparently feeling threatened, pulled his gun and fired twice. Colonel was hit by either a bullet or shrapnel and took off running. He was later found "cowering and shaking in bushes," the suit states, and taken to a veterinarian for emergency care.
"It's excessive force, really. And it's unfortunate because I have a lot of respect for the Chicago Police Department, and this is horrible," the couple's daughter, Morgan Phillips, said Tuesday.
Attorneys from the firm of Fisher and Lamonica are representing the family.
"A ricochet bullet, thank God it didn't go into a child that was walking around, but we don't believe there was any cause here for the officer to un-holster his gun to begin with, let alone fire two rounds," said attorney Erron Fisher.
To add insult to injury, the Phillips say that after Pettigrew shot the dog, he "casually and callously" continued to write the parking ticket.
Additionally, they said they were visited by two officers on Monday evening and questioned as to why the incident was getting media attention. The suit says the officers "insinuated that Barbara Phillips and her family should let this matter go and not push it any further."
When Al Phillips indicated that he "would not let this matter go quietly," the officers gave him a citation, the suit says. That citation says Phillips "failed to keep his dog ... restrained within his property or leashed and under his control."
A police spokeswoman on Tuesday evening said the Independent Police Review Authority is looking into the matter. The officer remains on the job.