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Settlement reached in police-conduct case involving Warren boys

Published: Fri, January 27, 2012 @ 12:03 a.m.

By Ed Runyan



The city of Warren and a Warren family have settled a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court over a Warren police officer’s treatment of three young boys playing in their back yard.

Sources say the city agreed to pay a little less than $100,000 to resolve the case.

Greg Hicks, Warren law director, said the amount of the settlement will be made public when the Trumbull County Probate Court approves distribution of the money.

Hicks said he believes the settlement is fair, adding that it resulted from an unfortunate incident, and he hopes the boys will be able to “put it behind them. They’re good kids.”

Judge Benita Y. Pearson presided over the case, filed by Anthony B. Simmons of Sarkies Drive Northeast, as guardian of his three sons, who were age 7, 9 and 10 at the time of the incident.

Atty. James Sanders of the Warren Law Department and attorneys for the city’s insurance carrier worked on the case.

The suit named Patrolman Jeff Hoolihan, Police Chief Tim Bowers and Doug Franklin, now Warren’s mayor, as defendants. Bowers and Franklin, safety-service director at the time, were named for purportedly failing to properly train and supervise Hoolihan.

The suit was filed in March 2011, alleging that 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, they returned to their yard, when Hoolihan came into the yard with his revolver drawn and aimed at the children, and ordered them to the ground, the lawsuit said.

Hoolihan has 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.”

Hoolihan was given a written reprimand in May 2010 because pointing the gun at the boys was a violation of the department’s use-of-force policy.

Hoolihan retired from the department Jan. 6.

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