Harris v. O’Hare, et al.

860-249-1361 x 143

Harris v. O’Hare, et al.: Two City of Hartford Police detectives, acting on a tip regarding the whereabouts of illegal handguns, entered the plaintiff’s property, only to be confronted by a large dog that charged at them. They ran, but could not escape the dog, and faced a threat of imminent harm. One detective fired his weapon three times as the dog lunged at him, killing the dog. The Detectives were sued in U.S. District Court for a claimed violation of civil rights protected by the 4th and 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, based on an illegal entry of the property, an illegal seizure of the dog, and a due process violation. The eight person returned a unanimous verdict for the Defendants. The verdict was overturned by the U.S. Court of Appeals which held that the officers’ entry onto the Plaintiffs property required a warrant and the exigent circumstances exception to the warrant requirement did not apply. The case was sent back for a hearing in damages on the entry issue and was retried on the use of deadly force on the Plaintiffs’ dog. The jury again returned a verdict for the defendant officers on the use of force issue and assigned damages for the warrantless entry.