The lawsuit was filed in the US District Court for the Northern District of Ohio by Charles Boyk, Esq. against the following parties: the City of Toledo (for violation of civil rights and wrongful death); the Toledo Police Department (for violation of civil rights and wrongful death); Officer Diane Chandler, in her individual capacity (for violation of civil rights, gross negligence, assault, battery and wrongful death); and Marria’s Adult Family Home (for negligence and wrongful death).
Crisis police were requested, but Officer Chandler and another officer, who were not crisis police officers, responded to the scene. Disregarding their lack of proper training with crisis situations and with the mentally ill, Marria’s Adult Family Home allowed the officers to approach Ms. Hicks with weapons drawn.
When the officers arrived at her room, Ms. Hicks was laying facedown on her bed with her hands under her pillow. She was asked to show her hands, and when she did not comply the officers proceeded to Taser her twice (without regard to her pacemaker). After the second shock, Ms. Hicks got out of bed and approached the two officers with the craft scissors in her hand.
At this point, Officer Chandler and the other officer successfully exited the bedroom into the hallway. For a moment, both officers were in the hallway while Ms. Hicks was still in her room. The second officer descended down nearby stairs and exited the scene, while Officer Chandler chose to remain in the hallway. As Ms. Hicks approached Officer Chandler, the officer proceeded to shoot and kill Ms. Hicks.
The lawsuit claims that this sad situation was wholly avoidable. Ms. Hicks was not given her proper medication by Marria’s Adult Family Home; if she had received her medication the scenario could likely have been avoided. The home also allowed Ms. Hicks to have access to the scissors and allowed non-crisis police officers to attempt to diffuse the situation.
After all, how dangerous could a 5'2'' elderly woman with a pair of scissors actually be to trained police officers?