Shooting victim sues Willard, G'wich cops

Woman shot in the foot.
Cary Ashby
Dec 24, 2013

 

A Toledo woman who was shot in the foot during an attempted drug bust has sued the Willard and Greenwich police departments.

Erica D. Devlin, 20, of Toledo, is seeking $25,000 in damages and is claiming personal injury. Devlin's attorneys, James Silk Jr. and James Jeffrey, filed a lawsuit on her behalf Dec. 18 in the U.S. Northern District Court in Toledo.

The lawsuit was filed nearly a year to the day after the Dec. 19, 2012 incident at 631 Pleasant St. in Willard. A court spokeswoman said Monday no court dates have been scheduled and electronic summonses were issued shortly after the lawsuit was filed.

"We've not been served with anything, so there's nothing to comment on," Willard Police Chief Mark Holden told the Reflector on Sunday.

"I'm not aware of any lawsuit, so I have no comment," Willard City Manager Brian Humphress said during a separate telephone interview.

Greenwich Police Officer Sean P. Nolen was one of three officers who discharged their guns during the search warrant-related incident. He was there with eight Willard police officers and Huron County Dog Warden Gary Ousley.

A report by the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, which was released in late April, determined the bullets that hit Devlin and a pitbull dog likely match the weapon fired by Nolen. Willard EMS transported Devlin to Mercy Willard Hospital, where she was treated for a minor foot injury and released.

Greenwich Police Chief Steve Dorsey, who couldn't be reached for comment Monday, earlier told the Reflector he believed Nolen acted correctly in firing his gun.

Devlin's lawsuit alleges negligence on the part of three officers -- Nolen and Willard Police Officers Jeremy Draper and Brian Slone -- and says the police departments failed to properly follow at least four department policies. Besides the three officers, the lawsuit also names the city of Willard and village of Greenwich as defendants.

Two BCI agents interviewed Nolen in connection with assisting Willard police with a drug trafficking investigation.

Willard police had requested Nolen assist with using the warrant. Nolen told BCI agents he earlier "developed an informant" related to the investigation. The person was one of Willard's confidential informants who had made controlled drug buys.

Nolen told BCI agents he was about 6 feet away when he shot at the dogs, which just had been released from the residence. He said "he fired two rounds in very close succession" at the dog closest to him after he saw the dogs "continue moving toward" Draper and Devlin.

"He felt that both Draper and the woman were in danger," according to the BCI report.

Just before Nolen fired, Draper backed away from the dogs and fell into Devlin. The detective "ended up on the ground on top of the female at the end of the sidewalk," according to the BCI report.

"Officer Nolen said the dog he fired at made a yelping sound and ran off in a northerly direction," BCI reported. The other dog ran around Nolen and went south.

"Upon information and belief, it was a gunshot from Defendant Officer Nolen that struck (the) Plaintiff," Devlin's attorney, Silk, wrote in the lawsuit.

After the incident, Nolen wasn't disciplined and remained on active duty. However, Draper and Slone were placed on desk jobs. They later returned to "full duty."

"Officers Draper, Slone, and Nolen, had a duty to act prudently and with reasonable care and otherwise avoid the use of unnecessary, unreasonable, and excessive and/ or deadly force," according to the lawsuit.

Among the policy infractions alleged in the lawsuit, Devlin is accusing police of:

n Failing to properly screen, supervise and otherwise control police officers who were known or should have been known to engage in use of excessive force and deadly force,

n Failing to have and implement procedures and training in officers' use of deadly force,

n And failing to properly screen, supervise and otherwise provide training to officers who are asked to assist in other agencies' operations.

Devlin, according to the lawsuit, was an innocent bystander and alleges police "acted so recklessly as to demonstrate substantial lack of concern as to whether injury or death would result."

Comments

WASP71

I think Willard and Greenwich should be sued for not teaching their officers to shoot straight. If they gave their people proper training and then the drug companies would run out of NARCAN, you know how many lowlife pieces of trash they could rid society of?! Just my opinion.

Hereswhatithink

Wonder how many pills she can get with that? Think before going to the drug house next time, Ms Devlin

ladydye_5

Maybe she should pick better friends. If she wasn't hanging out at a drug house she would be in this situation. I think she should SUE the people " WHO LET THE DOGS OUT". LOL

believe it

Exactly my thoughts. Maybe this Devlin girl shouldn't be hanging out at a drug house that's about to get raided. I wonder why she'd be there too? Hmmm...

AEversole

I don't care where she was at, drug house or not . if you are going to start shooting at dogs or people , make sure you don't shoot innocent people that are their. It is irresponsible , neglectful, and wreckless. Period. That are wrong and should and will have to pay. Despite all your ignorant opinions on where she was and what they do there. If the cops weren't their for her she was a innocent bystander.

jamie9700

So NR [and we the readers] learn about the lawsuit before the City of Willard does. I guess I won't feel so left out when I find out my teenage daughter is expecting by checking FaceBook.

youvegotobekiddingme

They hang out at the courthouse and go over the filings daily. If it's newsworthy, they do a story. It could take days before the parties are served.

luvblues2

Seems to me that Nolen thought he was in Afghanistan and the Taliban were after him so he shot his weapon in FEAR rather than awareness of the situation.

Kilroy

but now he is a civilian. Civilian Police Officers should not discharge their weapons for being scared/fearful. Otherwise there would be a shooting at every call they were sent to.

Dr. Information

I pray she doesn't win a dime. Drug addicts looking for a quick score. That's all this is.

rickross2

If a cop shoots a innocent bystander on accident, why wouldn't she sue? Now if the person who's home was being raided got shot, haha sucks to be you. The real issue here is officers who aren't proficient with their weapons. I would think they would have a little better understanding of their surroundings and capabilities of their weapons if they are in on a raid. Safety safety safety is number one with any firearm in any situation. Dogs charging or not charging, officer is at fault.

youvegotobekiddingme

And you could do a better job walking into a drug house with people who have weapons and vicious dogs? Please!!

swiss cheese kat's picture
swiss cheese kat

Hereswhatithink, ladydye_5, believe it, Dr. Information, this woman is gonna get every penny she is suing for.

I remember reading about this so lets look at some of the facts. Starting with the first sentence of this article. I'm assuming you can read 'attempted drug bust'? There was NO DRUGS at the house. That's the funniest thing about all this. No drugs, only bad intel. Yes, eventually one guy was arrested for drug abuse. The other guy wasn't charged because there was NO DRUGS in the house. LMAO. Dr. Information, pray all you want, but do you really thinks she gonna lose? LMAO.

Another attempt by the paper to paint a rosy picture about 'shoot from the hip' Cops shooting innocent victims in a failed drug raid.

yellitoutloud

Ms. Devlin doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Brownzville

BADDUM TSss!! hahahaha! Good one!

youvegotobekiddingme

I'll say it again...all of you people seem to have all of the advice and holier than thou attitudes regarding the stories that are about drugs, violence, etc., but I never see comments regarding the positive news. Why is that?

ladydye_5

What positive news? A druggie trying to win free money from a cop that accidently shot her in the foot? She was hanging out at a drug house, that happened to not have drugs in it at that exact moment. Someone let pit bulls out to probably spook the cops, and it worked. I honestly do not feel bad for her. She should pick better friends. So I ask. What positive news are you talking about?

youvegotobekiddingme

I didn't say this was a positive story...my comment is under this story line because I can't believe anyone would post a "great job" post for the story about Christie Lane or any other type of story. You and your ilk always post your advice and snarky comments on the stories that have anything to do with drugs, etc.

Unitedwefall

Whats funny about this whole article is, Ms. Devlin is not a Toledo resident, IN FACT she is a resident of well known WILLARD OHIO! ;)

believe it

I believe she did live in Toledo for a while though? But I still don't feel sorry for her either. If she hadn't been friends with those losers she never would've been in this situation.

Unitedwefall

That may be true, but on a good note, atleast she is only suing for 25k and not more.... Seems that the people who dont deserve the money are the first to get it!

youvegotobekiddingme

$25K is the minimum and standard language in lawsuits...she is probably suing for whatever the policy limits are or more from the city police departments.

Dr. Information

Proof or more opinion.

youvegotobekiddingme

Not sure what your point is. I do know that $25k in a lawsuit is standard language. Check other lawsuit filings at the clerk's website.

TFPONH

One thing is for sure, if you get food stamps you most likely have a tatoo(s), a smart phone, buy pop and beer, buy cigarettes and buy dog food. Food stamps are worth about $810.00 per month not counting the food pantry. The tatoos ($200), smart phone ($150), pop & beer $450) , cigarettes ($150) and the dog food ($200) is worth about $1150.00 per month. HMMMM!!!!

propman

She was treated and released from the hospital. Where in that minor injury is $25,000?

Sully5000

Nolen is the true epitome of crooked cop. He should be fired and not be allowed into any facet of law enforcement, plain and simple. Anyone that incompetent should be swiftly
and permanently terminated. Hit the road Nolen - you have no place in law.

tipper

When the Police told Ms Devlin to get on the ground she did as directed. Then a police officer backed up, and fell on her, You have got to be kidding. Why werent the Police officers using their guns properly, this is pathetic.

tipper

The element of surprise , should have been implemented, BEFORE THE COPS WENT IN THE HOUSE,

Dr. Information

Hope she loses.