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."