LAKEVIEW — Al and Barbara Phillips said they were "expecting an apology" when a sergeant and lieutenant from the Chicago Police Department's 19th District showed up at their front door two days after an officer allegedly shot their puppy.
They didn't get one. Instead, on Monday night they got a ticket for having their seven-month-old miniature bull terrier, Colonel, off its leash before it was shot.
Now, the couple say the local precinct is trying to intimidate them for talking to the media about the case, and they are suing the city for the "senseless act of violence," explosive court papers say.
“You don’t send a sergeant and a lieutenant to bring a dog ticket,” Barbara Phillips said.
The citation was the second from the 19th District since the shooting of his pup, which came from a "championship show line" and was being groomed to become a show dog. On Saturday, the officer who allegedly shot his dog issued him the first ticket, for a parking violation.
The shooting, which left the 20-pound pup with a bullet in his left back paw and bullet fragments that pierced his belly, is under investigation by the Independent Police Review Authority, the agency said. [Read the original story here.]
According to the suit, filed in Cook County Circuit Court Tuesday morning, Al Phillips was at his home on the 800 block of West Buena Ave. when a neighbor told him that he was getting a parking ticket.
Phillips walked out of his back yard and Colonel, who was with him, followed, "with his tail wagging" and was "conducting itself in a peaceable fashion," the suit says.
That's when the cop, identified in court papers as Officer Brandon Pettigrew, allegedly pulled his gun and fired twice.
"Colonel ran a few blocks where he was found cowering and shaking in bushes and was helped out by neighbors and taken for emergency veterinary care," the complaint says.
After the shooting, Pettigrew "then casually and callously [returned] to his task of writing a parking ticket," which the documents called "extreme and outrageous conduct."
Two days later, the couple got a visit from two Chicago police officials, believed to be a sergeant and lieutenant, who interviewed Barbara Phillips and "questioned ... why the media was involved in the shooting of the dog," the court documents say.
On the night the second ticket was issued, FOX TV reporters were at the house and witnessed the citation being given.
"Officials insinuated that [the couple] and her family should let this matter go and not push it any further against the City of Chicago Police Department or the individual officer," the suit says.
According to the documents, "it is not the custom and practice of the Chicago Police Department for high ranking police officials to show up a resident's home address and issue "off leash" citations to dog owners 48 hours after the purported offense occurred.
The officers that came to the house said Pettigrew, is “an excellent officer," according to Barbara Phillips.
But Barbara Phillips questioned that.
“A good officer that shoots a tiny little puppy in fear of his life?” she asked.
Police did not immediately comment on the suit and the IPRA said it did not believe that Pettigrew's status had changed.
Lawyers for the couple announced the suit at a press conference Tuesday outside the emergency room that saved the dog's life.
Colonel had just been released and walked out of the hospital gingerly on a leash. Barbara Phillips and her daughter, Morgan, cradled him like a baby through much of the announcement.
Lawyers argued that the incident that left him wounded should not be viewed as a dog being shot — but as a dangerous abuse of power by a police officer who fired shots that could have ricocheted and hurt passersby or children at a nearby preschool.
"Thank God we're not here talking about a child," said Michael Lamonica, one of the Phillips' attorneys.
The suit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.
Al Phillips had been working on a petition to get the officer fired.
"I'll leave it now to these gentlemen," he said, referring to his legal team.
Morgan Phillips said she saw the officer in uniform in the neighborhood Monday.
"He's still on the streets — with a gun," she said.
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