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City may pay $40K over '98 police raid

A lawsuit pending over a 1998 Toledo police raid in a child neglect complaint could end soon with a $40,000 payment from the city.

The Ford administration has asked city council to approve paying $20,000 each to two women who were arrested when police responded to complaints of children living in unkempt and crowded conditions in 1998.

Mary G. Jordan and her granddaughter, Angel Williams, sued Toledo police in federal court for $600,000, charging police violated their constitutional rights by failing to get a warrant for the raid on April 10, 1998, at 2472 Lawrence Ave.

According to records, police visited the home and spoke to Ms. Jordan based on a tip and then returned one or two hours later with a Lucas County Children Services caseworker. They removed three children from the home that was described as “filthy” and with a “very bad odor.”

City officials declined to comment in detail on the settlement. “We strongly support the settlement of this case and believe that it serves the interest of justice,” said acting city Law Director Barbara Herring.

Ms. Jordan, now 76, and her granddaughter, now 20, claimed unlawful search and seizure, use of excessive force, assault, and false imprisonment.

The suit named Sgt. Richard Murphy, Officer Andre Bills, Officer Rodolfo Garcia, Officer Pamela Kujawa, then-Officer Bonnie Weis, and former Officer Jennifer Jablonski. Ms. Weis is now a detective.

U.S. District Judge David Katz dismissed the excessive force and assault charges, and dismissed the children services caseworker from the suit. He also dismissed false arrest and false imprisonment charges claimed by Ms. Jordan.

Sergeant Murphy said this week that police acted because of the immediate threat to the children, but they ran into opposition from Ms. Jordan and Ms. Williams.

“I'm very disappointed. The police were only there to check the safety of the children,” Sergeant Murphy said.

Attorneys for Ms. Jordan and Ms. Williams argued that if the officers believed the children were in imminent danger, they would have acted immediately, rather than leaving the residence for one or two hours to get the children services caseworker.

The settlement is not an admission of wrongdoing, city officials said.

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