Lawsuit filed by owner of pit bull puppy killed by Chicago police
SUN-TIMES MEDIA WIRE May 16, 2014 8:04PM
A woman is suing the city of Chicago and several police officers nearly a year after her 5-year-old daughter watched an off-duty officer shoot and kill their pit bull puppy near their home in the Norwood Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.
Samantha Maglaya’s daughter was with their 4-month-old pit bull about 3:10 p.m. May 17 in the front of their home in the 5800 block of North Oketo Avenue, when an off-duty police officer shot the puppy in the chest eight times, killing him, according to a federal lawsuit filed Friday in U.S. District Court.
“He was just like my baby,” Maglaya told the Chicago Sun-Times at the time. “I carried him around. I fed him with a bottle.”
The officer claimed the pit bull was viciously chasing his 5-year-old son, who was riding his bicycle near Maglaya’s home.
“I know that my son’s life could have been in danger ... and the fact that my son was protected, that’s what I care about,” the officer’s wife, who at the time said they’d previously asked the dog be kept on a leash, told the Sun-Times.
But the lawsuit alleges the puppy, named Maximus, was running around in the front yard with its tail wagging, and was not a threat to anyone. The officer shot the puppy within feet of Maglaya’s daughter, and Maglaya claims in the suit there was no child on a bicycle in the area.
While Maglaya rushed the dog to the hospital, her husband was fined for having the puppy off a leash and without a dog-tag, according to the suit. Also, the suit claims Chicago Police cleaned up the scene of the shooting without properly taking pictures and recording the scene.
The officer, as well as two other officers who lived on the same block as Maglaya, conspired to kill the puppy because they did not want the pit bull in their neighborhood, according to the suit.
The officers wanted Maglaya to move out of the neighborhood because of her Section 8 housing status and her race, and one of the officers used racial slurs when referring to Maglaya and the puppy, according to the lawsuit.
All three officers are listed as defendants in the suit; the complaint alleges that the two officers who did not shoot the puppy helped the third officer cover it up.
The 22-count lawsuit claims negligence; excessive force; illegal seizure; aggravated cruelty to animals; hate crimes against Maglaya and her daughter; criminal trespass to property; and intentional infliction of emotional distress, among other things. It also seeks to hold the city responsible.
Maglaya is seeking $1.35 million in damages.
The city has not yet been served with the suit, said city Department of Law spokesperson Shannon Breymaier, who declined to comment Friday evening.
The Independent Police Review Authority, which was investigating the shooting at the time, could not be immediately reached for comment.