CHICAGO (CN) – Police and doctors may be liable for institutionalizing a grief-stricken mother who learned that her son had been shot and said, “If something happens to my son, I’ll just die,” a federal judge ruled.
Susan and Thomas Dobrzeniecki live in Sauk Village, a suburb south of Chicago.
In November 2009, the Dobrzenieckis’ son Peter was shot in the face by an armed robber in Chicago Heights. When the police told Susan about the shooting, she allegedly said: “I’m a good person. Why does this keep happening to me? If something happens to my son, I’ll just die.”
Susan says she is a Sauk public servant and that village police have seen her as a thorn in its side ever since she criticized the department to a television news reporter in 2005. Susan claimed that Officers Rebecca Salisbury and James Vela held a grudge against her, and acted upon that grudge when she went to visit her son at St. James Hospital.
Vela and hospital security locked in a room of the hospital, and Salisbury took her coat, purse and phone, according to the complaint. Then Salisbury and Vela had her involuntarily committed.
That afternoon, the police used Susan’s confiscated keys to enter her home without a warrant and search for a gun, according to the Dobrzenieckis’ complaint. Her husband, Thomas, who has multiple sclerosis and is wheelchair-bound, repeatedly asked how the police got into his home and asked them to leave.