A few months ago, FOX 9 News spoke with a family that was furious after Minneapolis police shot two of their pit bulls, injuring one and killing another, amid a search for an escaped convict. Now, they're filing a lawsuit claiming the incident violated their rights as U.S. citizens.
Police say they were trying to arrest their suspect at his sister's home on the city's north side on March 31 when two pit bull puppies were shot in the family's yard after officers opened fire on them. An officer was struck in the leg by a bullet in the process, most likely from a ricochets.
Now, a lawsuit accusing officers of making racist remarks and going well beyond their rights of search is seeking a federal trial by jury.
"Arguably, they had initial right to be at the house -- they were chasing a suspect, but the second day, they were not," said attorney Christopher Kuhlman.
Police were seeking the resident's brother when things got messy and officers opened fire on Anderson's two dogs, firing as many as 10 shots. The autopsy of the dog is part of the lawsuit -- but that wasn't the only pet that was killed.
"They busted all this open -- her fish tanks," Leah Anderson told FOX 9 News in March.
Kuhlman said the damage the officers created as they searched the home from their suspect seemed to come from a place of anger, not law and order -- pointing out a window that was apparently broken without need.
"That's the TV. It was mounted against the wall. So, even if they claim they were looking for a suspect -- which they knew he wasn't in the home -- why are they ripping TVs off the wall?" Kuhlman asked. " There was no way anyone was hiding behind that TV."
The family says they believe that the Minneapolis police held a vendetta against them for something the family didn't even do.
"We believe they were under the mistaken impression that someone at the house shot the officer, which no one did," said Kuhlman.
The lawsuit also contends that police came back the next day without a warrant simply to harass -- even using racial slurs.
"We don't know what they were doing there, why they were there," said attorney Christopher Kuhlman. "We're trying to figure it out."
A Minneapolis spokesman says city attorneys have not yet reviewed the lawsuit and have no comment at this time, but Kuhlman estimates it may take up to a year before the case could make it to trial because depositions must be taken from all officers involved.