Minneapolis pit bull shooting results in $225K in settlement

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April 1, 2013
By: Nick Halter
Nick Halter

The city of Minneapolis has settled a lawsuit stemming from an incident two years ago in which city cops shot two pit bulls — one of which was so close to 3-year-old girl it splattered blood on her pajamas — in a North Minneapolis home.

The City Council agreed to pay James and Aisha Keten $225,000 on March 29, a few weeks after U.S. District Judge Donovan Frank wrote that he would not dismiss several counts of a complaint filed in 2011.

Most notably, Frank wrote that a reasonable juror could conclude that a Minneapolis police officer acted unreasonably when he fired multiple shots into small kitchen with a young girl nearby.

According to court documents:

Officers on April 13 were conducting a search warrant, looking for an assault rifle they believed was used by James Keten’s brother Lamont to shoot a woman eight days earlier.

Officers were warned that four potentially aggressive pit bulls were in the home, and also that children would be present.

First, one officer shot a 60-pound pit bill mix named Kano. The officer testified that the dog charged him.

Keten alleges that officers hand-tied him and beat him, but a hospital could find no bruises or injuries to Keten.

Another officer, Chad Fuchs, went into the kitchen where the couple’s 3-year-old daughter was eating breakfast. The Kenten’s allege that Fuchs fired several shots close to the girl, including ones that killed a 40-pound pit bull-German Shepard mix named Remy. Remy was sitting near the feet of the girl. Remy’s blood splattered on the girl’s pajamas, and the girl has since been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. She regularly sees the therapist.

Aisha Keten attempted to rush into the kitchen to grab her daughter, but police restrained her in the bathroom, where she had been getting ready for work.

Fuchs claims the dog was threatening, but the girl and Aisha Keten say the dog did not bark or growl.

The family also says officers damaged several of their belongings. The gun was not found in the home, and Aisha and James were not arrested.  

City Attorney Susan Segal has not responded to request for comment this morning on possible punishment for any of the officers.