Cop's bullet aimed at barking dog hits owner instead, suit claims

By Kelly Holleran | Dec 7, 2009

A woman has filed suit against the Washington Park police officer who she says accidentally shot her in the leg.

Linda Hicks claims she called police to her house at 5731 Portland on Dec. 1, 2008, to request that her son be removed due to his disruptive behavior.

Responding to Hicks' request, defendant Washington Park police officer Donald Williams arrived at Hicks' residence where he arrested Hicks' son for an outstanding warrant, according to the complaint filed Nov. 30 in St. Clair County Circuit Court.

"As the officers were taking the plaintiff's son to the squad car, plaintiff's dog barked at Officer Williams," the suit states. "Apparently startled, Williams discharged his official firearm twice in the direction of the dog. The bullet or the ricochet of the bullet struck plaintiff in the leg."

Because of the incident, Hicks sustained temporary and permanent injuries, incurred medical costs and has been prevented from attending to her usual duties, the complaint says.

Hicks blames Williams for discharging his firearm contrary to policy, for discharging his firearm when he knew it would result in injury and for discharging his firearm in the absence of a threat to him.

The village of Washington Park is also named as a defendant because it is allegedly liable for Williams' actions.

In the two-count suit, Hicks seeks a judgment of more than $100,000, plus costs.

She will be represented by Philip B. Afeld and Lanny Darr of Schrempf, Kelly, Napp and Darr in Alton.

St. Clair County Circuit Court case number: 09-L-639.

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