Jury Awards Chicago Family $300,000 For Abusive Police Raid Leading To Shooting Of Family Dog

The family of Thomas Russell III has been awarded $300,000 by a federal jury this week for an abusive raid that led to the police shooting the family dog. We have been following a long line of cases where family dogs are shot by police.


The raid occurred on Feb. 27, 2009 when the police raided the South Side home. They allege that the police put shotguns to the heads of young boys and ultimately shot Lady, the family’s black Labrador. No drugs were found in the search.

Source: Sun Times

36 thoughts on “Jury Awards Chicago Family $300,000 For Abusive Police Raid Leading To Shooting Of Family Dog

  1. 300 and that is all….

    They allege that the police put shotguns to the heads of young boys and ultimately shot Lady, the family’s black Labrador. No drugs were found in the search.

    Well, maybe the judge can adjust it for each one…I wonder how they came up with that number….

  2. I have black Lab and have known the breed for decades and to use the term vicious Lab is simply absurd. They are one of the most loving,sweet natured dogs around who love everybody, even cops. This is simply some bad cops who think that they have license to kill anything that moves. The only way a Lab would get nasty is if the cops were beating on the owners, THEN most dogs will get pissed off and will defend their humans. If the cops had simply cuffed the people, I cannot see a Lab doing anything other than watching.

    It is very disheartening to see that the city attorney defended those cops actions. The only thing that will stop police abuse of this kind is to take away their badges and any licenses or certification that they may have.

  3. Arthur, cops tend to toss people onto the ground and stuff before cuffing them. I’m sure that pissed the dog off. They still shouldn’t’ve been there to begin with and they obviously were out of line, but I could see the dog getting defensive the way police manhandle people these days.

  4. The Swat Team methodology of law enforcement is not only a waste of time and money, it most often leads to violations of the public’s rights.

  5. If this is the case I’m thinking of the police searched this home dispite the warrant only being for the other half of the duplex. One of the teenage children told an officer that they owned a dog and asked to be allowed to put it in it’s kennel and was refused.

  6. The Police probably thought they made the dog swallow the drugs and shot it so they could examine its stomach contents.

  7. Let’s assume the dog was attacking the police to protect it’s masters. Dogs do not understand a police order to submit peacefully. It’s bite now and … bite now. What would you do if this animal was voraciously feeding on your badoinkas or hands? However, I have say that I would also assume that the cops would have heard barking ahead of time. A nice “woof woof don’t taze me bro” would have been a much more preferable event than blood being spilled.

    Was the award just for killing the dog? Was this all punitive damages? Otherwise you go to Petsmart and get a new unit that looks just like Lady. Treble the damage and you get about $2k maybe? At most?

  8. “Otherwise you go to Petsmart and get a new unit that looks just like Lady. ”

    what are you, sick? if all is true in this article then not only did the police perpetrate an unecessary violence but they also terrorized that family…..’put a gun to the boys head’?

    300,000 is chump change. It is become apparent that society here and abroad is becoming aware of the abuses and bullying by law ‘enforcement’ officers. Where is the retraining and probation for the officers?
    An adequate compensation is one that everyone feels the weight of….on the perp side, so they never repeat the offense….for the victim, so the losses are fairly compensated. Loss is not objective in situations like this and if the law says it is then the law is an ass(h*le).They didn’t just lose a family pet…they in all probability lost any sense of safety and confidence in the law or government system that they as citizens have a right to have some semblance of earned respect for.. 300,000.00 is chump change and will do little to deter this sort of thing happening again.

  9. Sounds like a fair number to me. I agree with Arthur, that most Labs would not be a problem for the police. I hope this award sends a message to police and swat teams everywhere, that people’s rights can’t be trampled when police are continuing their “war on drugs”.

  10. “Otherwise you go to Petsmart and get a new unit that looks just like Lady. ” -G G

    Nice. (I’m guessin’ there’s a heart in there somewhere, but one that’s limited to beating, it would seem…)

  11. This family is lucky that no drugs were planted when the search failed to turn up evidence.

    Yet another win for the heroic and abusive practitioners of state-sanctioned violence.

  12. This family is lucky that no drugs were planted when the search failed to turn up evidence. -puzzling

    Yep.

  13. Where do we go to find a replacement for broken humans, like Geeba? The sum cost of his/her elemental properties can be purchased for pocket change at the store.

    I’ve met many dogs that lead a more worthy existence than some of my fellow people…

  14. I could look up the actual amount, but I don’t wan’t to start the weekend with such a depressing number: $300,000 is chump change – my beloved City of Chicago pays out millions every year for police misconduct.

    rafflaw
    1, August 19, 2011 at 12:14 pm
    Sounds like a fair number to me. I agree with Arthur, that most Labs would not be a problem for the police. I hope this award sends a message to police and swat teams everywhere, that people’s rights can’t be trampled when police are continuing their “war on drugs”.

    If it’s sending a message, the message is being very faintly whispered in a very noisy space.

  15. Rafflaw wrote

    I hope this award sends a message to police and swat teams everywhere, that people’s rights can’t be trampled when police are continuing their “war on drugs”.

    When individual cops are held criminally responsible for these acts there may be some kind of message. That is just not happening and I don’t think it’s going to happen any time soon. As it stands today these cops stand a better chance of receiving a promotion for the heroism claimed in neutralizing some perceived danger than getting any kind of sanction.

    Asset forfeiture laws create huge incentives for police to pursue drug activities and they invite widespread abuses. These forfeitures are held by the arresting agency and fund rapidly expanding departments, new paramilitary armaments along with huge salaries, overtime and benefits for the officers themselves. The drug was is a profit center for the state.

  16. rafflaw1, August 19, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Woosty,
    Wouldn’t the act of putting a gun to the head of an innocent child be an assault with a deadly weapon?
    ——————————-
    you tell me! I would think so but I am not a law officer…they seem to have extra-ordinary rights. And I am not objective when it comes to big armed men intimidating small boys….it doesn’t sound like the ‘policing’ was kosher, in aany event….

  17. “I hope this award sends a message to police and swat teams everywhere, that people’s rights can’t be trampled when police are continuing their “war on drugs”.

    The message will only get thru when the award is taken from the paychecks of the cops involved.

  18. The Wizard sez: “The message will only get thru when the award is taken from the paychecks of the cops involved.”

    *************************************************

    Yup. No pain for the city either, since insurance will cover it and the city will not have to explain a thing to the taxpayers. No pain, no change.

    Another solution: If the money came from the law enforcement agency’s budget next year, there would likely be some change.

  19. […] Jury Awards Chicago Family $300000 For Abusive Police Raid Leading … The family of Thomas Russell III has been awarded $ by a federal jury this week for an abusive raid that led to the police shooting the family dog. We have been following a long line of cases where family dogs are […]

  20. Young boys were traumatized; and witnessed their dog’s life being taken.

    This will have a significant affect in their Life. Only time will tell what effect.

    One may only hope…

  21. ekeyra,

    Thank you for that link. Amazing, but definitely trying to preclude damages from a lawsuit. The SWAT Team was acting on a false tip, but the presumed
    professionalism is an open question. Did they clearly identify themselves verbally as police? If they didn’t and i had a shotgun i’d have blown someone’s head of to save my family. Then to, the Father, wielding the shotgun may well have been killed. Perhaps it was the fault of the task force, but no kudos for the SWAT Team are appropriate.

    As far as the use of informants go it is a long time police practice, that in many instances has done more harm then good. Most informants are criminals seeking immunity for their own crimes, or revenge upon those they inform on. Their information needs to be judged very critically, but often that is not the case. This to me is just another example of the phony war on drugs, in tandem with the now standard police practice of using SWAT team unnecessarily. The cliche of swatting flies with hammers provides a good analogy here.

  22. One doesn’t file suit (let alone win) against the Chicago police and expect to continue living anywhere near the city of Chicago afterwards.

    Considering the expenses this family is going to endure just to avoid retribution, a $300,000 reward amounts to little more than a small per diem.

  23. Any police officer that would enter my home and not allow me to crate my dog would be a really, really stupid human being in need of some kind of better training or a different job, maybe sweeping floors at a fast food restaurant.

  24. Betty – that would be most law enforcement officers in every state.

    I agree with the above posters who way this will do nothing to deter future abuses like this because the officers and department involved are paying nothing. One thing I can promise is that those children will forever have a bad taste in their mouths for law enforcement.

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  26. […] What makes this alleged threat even more egregious is that we have been a disturbing trend of officers shooting family dogs under questionable circumstances here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here andhere and here and here). It is chilling that, according to Crinnian, the first thing that this officer thought of was to threaten to shoot the family’s pets as if it were just one more minor act like kicking in a door. [I apologize for the way in which the list of links is formatted, but after reviewing the HTML code there seems to be nothing I can do about it.] […]

  27. […] What makes this alleged threat even more egregious is that we have been a disturbing trend of officers shooting family dogs under questionable circumstanceshere and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here andhere and here and here). It is chilling that, according to Crinnian, the first thing that this officer thought of was to threaten to shoot the family’s pets as if it were just one more minor act like kicking in a door. [I apologize for the way in which the list of links is formatted, but after reviewing the HTML code there seems to be nothing I can do about it.] […]

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