Actually, the end result in this particular case is an isolated incident.
A federal jury awarded $333,000 to a Chicago family Thursday after Chicago police officers raided its South Side home with guns drawn and shot its dog in a search that found no criminal activity in the apartment.
Teenage brothers Thomas and Darren Russell were in their second-floor apartment in the 9200 block of South Justine Street in February 2009 when officers announced they had a warrant to search both units of the two-flat. Thomas Russell, then 18, opened the door and found officers with their guns drawn, according to the lawsuit. Russell said that he put his hands in the air and asked permission to lock up his 9-year-old black Labrador, Lady, before they entered.
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.
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.
It’s rare for a suit like this to even get into court, much less result in substantial damages. Even more extraordinary, the jury actually ordered one of the cops to personally pay out punitive damages, though it was only $1,000 (and I’m not sure—that may still be covered by the city, or perhaps by the police union).
Guess we’ll see if the award holds up on appeal. But it would be great to see more of this kind of accountability.