St. Louis cop, city and bar sued over shooting incident

Kelly Holleran Jun. 2, 2009, 2:58am

A man says he was only trying to give an intoxicated off-duty St. Louis police officer a helping hand when the officer shot him in the chest in the parking lot of a bar.

Jeffrey Bladdick has filed a federal lawsuit in East St. Louis against the city of St. Louis, Bryan Pour and Mac and Mick's Sports Bar and Grill.

Bladdick says he pulled into the parking lot of Mac and Mick's at about 12:30 p.m. Nov. 9 where he first encountered Pour.

Before Bladdick arrived, Pour, an off-duty St. Louis police officer, had been at the bar with several of his fellow co-workers, according to the complaint.

"At all times herein mentioned, the officers were brandishing their badges and taking other affirmative steps to advertise the fact that they were police officers, and at least three of these individuals (Pour, Hantak and Meyer) were carrying their service weapons," the suit states.

Throughout the night, Pour became increasingly intoxicated and eventually was kicked out of the bar, but was permitted to remain in the parking lot, according to court records.

Bladdick says he arrived in the parking lot soon after Pour was
kicked out and found three of his friends – Kevin Elliott, Ted Wallace and John Hadley -- standing outside. Bladdick walked over to join them when they decided to leave.

Wallace and Elliott began walking toward their car, which was parked in the back of the lot, according to the complaint.

Elliott reached the car and entered it when Pour approached the car and ordered Elliott out, the complaint says.

"A scuffle ensued between he, Wallace and Pour, with Pour ending up on the ground," the suit states.

Bladdick approached the three brawling men to help Pour from the ground when he noticed Pour had drawn a weapon, according to court records.

"Pour pivoted to his feet, pressed the barrel to Bladdick's chest, and fired a single round," the suit states. "The bullet became lodged in Bladdick's torso as he fell to the ground, bleeding profusely."

Because of the shooting, Bladdick says he endured permanent pain, mental anguish, disability and disfigurement and incurred medical costs. He was also permanently prevented from attending to his usual duties and affairs and lost wages, the complaint says.

By shooting Bladdick and restraining his freedom to walk away, Pour violated Bladdick's Fourth Amendment right from unreasonable seizure, according to the complaint.

The city of St. Louis should not have allowed both on- and off-duty officers to carry weapons without any guidance on transferring the weapons over state lines or any instructions on carrying them in a situation where there is a risk of intoxication, Bladdick claims.

Instead, the city allowed officers to carry weapons solely based on the officers' own discretion, according to court records.

"That as a result of the above-described policies and customs, these officers of the City of St. Louis, including the defendant officer, thereby believed that their actions would not be properly monitored by supervising officers and that any misconduct would not be investigated or sanctioned and would instead be tolerated," the suit states.

Mac and Mick's had a duty to ensure the safety of all patrons on its premises, even those in its parking lot, the complaint says.

However, the bar violated that duty by negligently failing to maintain adequate security in its parking lot and by permitting Pour to remain on the premises after he had already been kicked out of the bar, Bladdick says.

Bladdick is seeking unspecified compensatory damages, plus costs, attorney's fees and other relief the court deems just.

Thomas Q. Keefe III of Belleville will be representing him.

U.S. District Court case number: 09-330-WDS.

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