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Father sues Warren, cop



Published: Wed, March 30, 2011 @ 12:07 a.m.

photo

Warren Patrolman Jeff Hoolihan

By Ed Runyan

runyan@vindy.com

WARREN

The father of three Warren boys who were ordered to the ground at gunpoint in their backyard a year ago by Warren Patrolman Jeff Hoolihan has filed a federal lawsuit against Hoolihan and the city.

The suit was filed by Atty. Andrew J. Thompson of Cleveland in Youngstown federal court on behalf of Anthony B. Simmons, of Sarkies Drive Northeast, father and guardian of his three sons, age 7, 9 and 10. It seeks at least $375,000 in damages.

Named as defendants are the city of Warren, Hoolihan, Police Chief Tim Bowers and Safety-Service Director Doug Franklin.

Bowers said Tuesday he had not seen the lawsuit and would not comment.

The suit says the boys had just come home from school March 26, 2010, and tried to enter the back door of their home, but the door was locked, so they went to a neighbor’s house, where a friend lived, and tried to open that door.

Finding it locked also, the boys returned to their yard, when Hoolihan came into the yard “with his revolver drawn and aimed directly at the children. He yelled at the children to ‘Get down, get down,’” the suit said.

“The children immediately complied ... and were face down on the wet, muddy grass in their backyard,” the suit continued.

Hoolihan, gun still drawn, asked the boys where they lived and searched one of the boys’ book bags. At about the same time, their father looked out the back window of his house and saw Hoolihan standing over the boys with gun drawn and went into the yard, identified himself and informed Hoolihan that the boys lived there, the suit said.

The suit noted that Hoolihan received a written reprimand for the incident and that Bowers had said Hoolihan had an unblemished record during 21 years with the department.

Hoolihan said he snuck up on the boys because he thought they were burglars in the act of committing a break-in because they were “running, stumped down, trying to avoid detection.”

The suit said the Simmons boys “suffered severe, debilitating and ongoing injury, emotional distress and harm, as well as medical expenses” as a result of the incident, and the “damage to the children is ongoing and likely to be permanent.”

Hoolihan “profiled” the boys based on their race, the suit said. The boys are black, and Hoolihan is white.

The city, Bowers and Franklin failed to properly train, supervise, counsel and/or discipline Warren police officers, including Hoolihan, in areas such as proper use of force, the suit said.


Comments

1steelwagon(284 comments)posted 3 years ago

Hoolihan said he snuck up on the boys because he thought they were burglars in the act of committing a break-in because they were “running, stumped down, trying to avoid detection

That was the officer's preception which doesn't automatically make it fact.
I don't like the way these kids were treated and no doubt they had to be frightened beyond belief.

But to be fair it's a sad fact of todays life that very young kids have been known to carry guns.
Granted it's rare and doesn't happen often but I suppose it's true that the officer had no way of instantly knowing weather or not a weapon was present.

The cop is only human and it's clear he made a huge mistake but it was a judgement call that had to be made in a fraction of a second.
He's a 21 year veteran cop with a clean record until this incident and that should count for something on his behalf.

As a parent I can certainly understand the father's anger looking out the window and seeing his young children laying face down in the mud with a gun being held to them.
Any parent would be furious seeing their young children in such a state.

I think what may be important here is the demeanor and attitude of the officer after realizing that these were in fact just kids trying to get in their home after school.
He obviously had to know how badly he had frightened those boys.

I don't know Mr. Hoolihan and certainly can't render an opinion as to the type of person he is or to his character in general.
But as a police officer he took an oath to serve and protect his community so upon seeing that these children were innocent of any wrong doing a sincere apology and softer tone towards the young men and their father would seem to be a reasonable expectation.

As for racial profiling I'm more inclined to believe officer Hoolihan would have reacted in the same manner had these been white children he believed to be involved in dubious or suspicious activity.

As a father my sympathy is for three young boys.
Having a loaded weapon pointed directly at you at any age is frightening.
It's impossible not to feel badly for the Simpson children ages 7,9 and 10

I certainly hope the boys will be alright and are getting any and all help they need.
Our world has changed and sadly not for the better.
When I was the age of these poor kids an incident like this could have never happened !!!

How tragic for all of us that even our young children are now both victim and perpetrator !!

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2Lifes2Short(3867 comments)posted 3 years ago

<<According to police reports and city prosecutors, Johnson told police that he and the juvenile were planning to kill someone the night they were arrested for burglary.>>

http://www.vindy.com/news/2011/mar/24...

This is another case and I'm sure there are one EVERY day involving juvenile and crime.
And the juvenile was 12 YEARS OLD. You just can't take chances in today's society, especially with kids nowadays.

"Hoolihan “profiled” the boys based on their race, the suit said. The boys are black, and Hoolihan is white."

This father is PROFILING the police officer and that is fair? Let the cops do there job and get over it. It's the way it is in today's society!
I'm sure this cop was only trying to protect the neighborhood. Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

"....said Hoolihan had an unblemished record during 21 years with the department."

And jeopardize his career on this incident. I highly would doubt that.

"The suit said the Simmons boys “suffered severe, debilitating and ongoing injury, emotional distress and harm, as well as medical expenses” as a result of the incident, and the “damage to the children is ongoing and likely to be permanent.”

Which only adds up to $$$$$$$$$$$$$$. Have to make money the easy way.

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3sherry24d(9 comments)posted 3 years ago

i think that this officer went too far. these are just young boys not thugs and the outcome of the discipline of the officer is outrageous. he should be on the unemployment line and never ever be allowed to have a badge and carry a gun. i hope the judge gives this father more than he is asking. i do hope that the boys are ok.

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4MLC75(500 comments)posted 3 years ago

The officer was wrong,he over reacted.It's funny that after the law suit was made public,Hoolihan said that he received a death threat,in the mail at his house.

Now he is being investigated,because he may have written, the death threat letter himself.He clearly has issues,it is time for him to be taken off he streets,before he hurts someone.

Not all police officers are good,there are some rotten apples.No I have never been arrested or even had a ticket in my life,I have nothing against the good officers who clearly are hero's,but Hoolihan is not one of them.

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5madman(50 comments)posted 3 years ago

I see what your saying but todays kids are not what thay use to be. Todays kids have guns the ages of 8,9 10 and will kill you and not think about it at all.Theres not a day that go by that you don t here about this.

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6Stan(9923 comments)posted 3 years ago

Give them a dollar and an apology . This should help soothe their hurt feelings . Why should they freeload to the tune of $375,000 off the taxpayers ?

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7Handala(38 comments)posted 3 years ago

GRADE SCHOOL had just let out and walkers were on their way home ,(black & white) take short cuts through yards everyday from Belvedere south along Atlantic.Regardless, for any cop to draw down on a 7, 9 & 10 year olds on such ridiculous "suspicion" is nothing short of criminal!BTW...check WPD records and you won't find nary a report of any recent burglaries in that particular neighborhood!And for defenders of this idiot suffering small man syndrome I'll bet if the CHILDREN were yours you would be demanding his shield along with compensatory damage! Hmm?

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8jrolley325(776 comments)posted 3 years ago

really? severe, debilitating, permanent injuries from having to get on the ground? why couldn't the father just answer the freakin door when his kids got home? and of course, the race card had to be pulled out. i hope he loses.

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9seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years ago

You knew this was coming from day one when the story broke: white cop, black kids. Medical bills? from what? Ohh, when the freeloading dad got to an ambulance chasing attorney, started getting his ducks in a row and started taking his kids into a shrink to get it documented they have been harmed. This is just another farce of the reverse discrimination and profiling that has escalated since Obama took office. This freeloading daddy realized an opportunity to screw the police department out of some cash to handle his issues. The mental abuse should be from him grandstanding his seeds to make a buck.

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10jrolley325(776 comments)posted 3 years ago

i agree with almost everything you just said, but come on, this has been going on since way before obama was ever relevant.

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11fitnessbuff(57 comments)posted 3 years ago

he retained a Cleve lawyer. I wonder if the local attys declined the case?

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12seminole(476 comments)posted 3 years ago

@jrolley...yeah, agreed, but I had to take my shot anyway...

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13Lifes2Short(3867 comments)posted 3 years ago

Handala

"GRADE SCHOOL had just let out and walkers were on their way home ,(black & white) take short cuts through yards everyday from Belvedere south along Atlantic.Regardless, for any cop to draw down on a 7, 9 & 10 year olds on such ridiculous "suspicion" is nothing short of criminal!"

Kids are so innocent, huh?

12yr old burglar shot/killed by homeowner
http://www.news4jax.com/video/2374978...

Boy Arrested After Robbing Store With Toy Gun
http://www.wtvy.com/news/headlines/81...

11 Year Old Goons Robbing Liquor Store At Gun Point In The Bay!
http://www.worldstarhiphop.com/videos...

11 and 12-Year-Old Arrested, Charged With Robbing Two Businesses At Gunpoint
http://www.dreamindemon.com/2010/10/0...

Decatur resident shoots and kills 14-year-old burglar, The Daily reports
http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/09/d...

13 Year Old Robs Bank
http://www.centralillinoisnewscenter....

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14MLC75(500 comments)posted 3 years ago

If the officer was black and put three white children face down on the ground,most of you would be asking for his head.

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15Lifes2Short(3867 comments)posted 3 years ago

mlc75

"If the officer was black and put three white children face down on the ground,most of you would be asking for his head."

Ahhh not quite. I don't care if the Officer was white, black, yellow, pink, orange, green, etc and the kids were white, black, yellow, pink, orange, green, etc, it's better to be safe then sorry. Why do you think everything/everybody is racist? You know it has nothing to do with race but with preventing crime. Is that so hard to comprehend? This world is in sad shape when everything is black and white. The world in my eyes is very colorful.

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