On July 6, 2016, the Appellate Court affirmed the circuit court’s decision granting summary judgment in favor of all defendants in the Watts v. Calumet City, et al. lawsuit. The case involved a 15 year old autistic boy who was shot by police after he lunged at and cut one of the responding officers with a large steak knife. The circuit court agreed with our arguments that (1) the shooting was reasonable and done in self-defense and defense of others and (2) the officers were immune under the Tort Immunity Act. The plaintiff then appealed claiming defendants’ actions were willful and wanton and thus, the immunity did not apply.
John Murphey and our office – Mike McGrath, Richard Bruen and Cary Horvath – were successful in arguing that the officers’ only option, though tragic, was to use deadly force to prevent further harm. The Appellate Court upheld the decision that the officers’ actions were not willful and wanton. It is especially critical today that we recognize the dangers faced by officers every day and refrain from judging when hindsight seems so revealing. Any call could potentially result in a dangerous situation where officers must make split second decisions. Because so many weigh in after the fact – and often without knowing all the facts – it is important for law enforcement to have capable lawyers behind them who will work diligently in their favor. A great job by the lawyers on this case in defending the actions of the Calumet City Police Department.
Click Here to read the decision.