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Police shoot unarmed man, 14-week-old puppy, threaten to shoot witness

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A report published Dec. 31 by AlterNet says police in Harvey, IL shot an unarmed man in the back of the leg without cause, threatened to "shoot the sh** out of" a witness with a camera, then shot to death a 14-week-old puppy belonging to another witness, according to details outlined in federal lawsuits filed by the wounded man and the owner of the dog that was shot.

The report says the man who was shot in the leg, Paul Manning, is suing the City of Harvey, as well as two officers with the Harvey Police Dept. The second lawsuit was filed by Karnischa Miller, the owner of the 14-week-old puppy, and names the City of Harvey and two Harvey PD officers. One of the officers, James Sinnot, was named in both lawsuits. The two other officers are named as O'Shea and Davres, but no first names are listed.

According to the lawsuit, Manning claims he was walking down the street on Dec. 30, 2012, when the officers began following him in a squad car. Manning says one of the officers stopped his squad car and ordered Manning to, "Come here!"

Manning says he did not stop because he had done nothing wrong. The complaint then states:

"Mr. Manning had no weapon or other objects in his hands. After a short distance of moving away from the defendant officer, Mr. Manning slipped and fell. As Mr. Manning tried to get up, one of the defendant officers willfully shot Mr. Manning in the back of his leg. Mr. Manning fell again and tried to get up again. Defendant officer then fired more shots at Mr. Manning."

Manning's complaint then says a witness tried to record the scene with his cell phone, but a Harvey officer grabbed the phone and threw it, saying "You touch the phone, I will shoot the s**t out of you."

In the second lawsuit filed by Karniischa Miller, who witnessed the shooting, claims she heard gunshots, "opened the back door and witnessed a young man, Paul Manning, lying on the ground after having been shot. He was screaming and asking for an ambulance."

Miller says the Harvey police officers were surrounding Paul Manning with their guns drawn.

"Upon information and belief, one officer was standing on Paul's back, simply as an excessive display of force. When Miller opened the door, her 14-week-old puppy, Nemo, ran outside. A police officer yelled to Miller's boyfriend, LeShon Wright, 'Get your dog!'," according to the complaint.

As Mr. Wright walked off the porch towards the dog, one of the defendant officers unholstered and raised his gun towards Nemo and Mr. Wright. According to the lawsuit Wright became fearful for his life and stopped.

"Nemo approached one of the defendant officers and sniffed his ankle. Nemo did not growl, bark, or act aggressively in any way. A defendant officer then shot Nemo."

The AlterNet report says the plaintiff's lawsuit alleges the officers would not allow anyone to approach the wounded dog from 4:30 p.m. to 11:15 p.m. but by that time the dog was dead.

According to details of the complaint one of the officers listed as a defendant said: "Yeah, I shot the dog. What the f**k you gonna do about it?" The City of Harvey admits that their police officers shot Nemo, but has declined further comment due to the ongoing litigation.

The report says Manning is seeking punitive damages for excessive force, battery, and emotional distress. Miller is seeking punitive damages for excessive force, illegal seizure, failure to intervene, and emotional distress. Both plaintiffs are represented by attorneys Victor Henderson, Rebecca Kaiser, and Henderson Adam.