When Hartford, Connecticut police Sgts. Johnmichael O’Hare and Anthony Pia got a bad tip about illegal weapons on the Harris family’s property, they should have gotten a warrant. Instead, they entered the property, guns out of their holsters, looking for an abandoned car with a weapons stash that didn’t exist. As they were leaving, the daughter of the family let one of their Saint Bernards out the back door, and the dog approached the unfamiliar officers in his territory.
O’Hare claims the dog was growling and nipping his heels, and he shot the dog twice. The daughter, who had gone outside with the dog, watched as the officer gunned down her best friend in front of her. The emotional damage was devastating and left her with suicidal tendencies. The Harris family sued the police, starting a legal battle that would go on for 11 years.
The Harris family claimed that their civil rights were violated when the officers entered their property and that their daughter suffered extreme emotional distress. After over a decade and multiple trials, the city of Hartford finally agreed to settle for $885,000, three quarters of which will go to legal fees. The settlement may not bring back their beloved dog or heal their daughter, but at least they feel that some kind of justice has been served.
What do you think? Is the settlement fair? What would you do if an officer entered your property and killed your dog? Let us know in the comments below!