LADUE, Mo. — The woman who was shot by a Ladue officer outside of a Schucks in April has filed a lawsuit against the officer, the Ladue Police Chief Ken Andreski and the city of Ladue.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Ashley Hall, alleges that former officer Julia Crews of the Ladue Police Department used unreasonable force against Hall and violated her Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The suit also seeks damages for injuries that she said have left her permanently disabled.
On April 23, police were called to the Schucks at the Ladue Crossing Shopping Center for a report of two shoplifters.
According to charging documents, Crews confronted Hall in the parking lot. Documents said Hall tried to run away and was avoiding arrest when Crews announced she was going to deploy her Taser. Instead, Crews said she accidentally drew her gun and shot Hall in the torso.
Crews was charged with second-degree assault and resigned from the police force in May.
The suit said that Hall never ran or attempted to evade arrest, and instead tried to report to Crews that she had been held down and assaulted by Schnucks employees before Crews had arrived. The suit also said that Hall had nothing on her person except for balloons for her mother's birthday and a receipt proving she paid for them.
Hall has a history of strokes that make communication difficult, the lawsuit said. Though Crews recognized that Hall appeared "altered," the lawsuit said she failed to follow her Crisis Intervention Team training by not asking whether Hall was taking medication, which would have indicated if Hall had a diagnosable condition.
The lawsuit said another officer arrived and told Hall to sit on the curb. Ladue Fire Department paramedics treated her injuries from the alleged assault and the other officer left, at which point the lawsuit said Crews' demeanor changed.
Sitting on the curb eventually caused "unbearable" pain in Hall's knee due to a prior injury, the lawsuit said, and Hall repeatedly attempted to stand to alleviate the pain while Crews repeatedly told her to sit down. Hall said she tried to explain to Crews that she was injured.
Crews attempted to handcuff Hall and failed, and when Hall asked if she was being arrested, Crews said "No, not yet," but then handcuffed one of Hall's wrists, the lawsuit said. Hall again asked Crews if she was under arrest, and Crews said she wasn't.
Fearing her safety, the lawsuit said Hall got up and began to walk toward the nearby St. Luke's Urgent Care.
A recording captured Crews yelling "She's running away!" and then Crews pulled her gun instead of her Taser and shot Hall in the back while her hands were up, the lawsuit said. The lawsuit also claims that Crews didn't give a warning that she was about to use deadly force.
Hall spent nearly three weeks in the hospital, and the lawsuit said that she had multiple organ injuries and lacerations and had to have her spleen removed.
"Had Defendant P.O. Crews exercised due care, arising out of proper training, she would have noticed that she was firing her firearm, as opposed to a non-lethal weapon," the lawsuit said, calling her actions "direct and proximate result of their failure to be properly trained and supervised by the City of Ladue."
5 On Your Side reached out to the Ladue Police Department and Crew's attorney regarding the lawsuit but has not heard back.
The city of Ladue previously gave the following statement a week after the shooting:
"We are heartbroken over the course of events in the last week," said City of Ladue Mayor Nancy Spewak. "We take great pride in our community policing efforts, and we strive to treat every member of the public with respect and integrity, despite the natural conflicts that occur when police are called to aid a potential criminal situation. We are committed to doing everything in our power to learn from this and to minimize the potential of incidents like this in the future. We are grateful the person involved in this matter is on her way to recovery. I want to offer my continued support to her family and to all of the men and women of the Ladue Police Department. This has been a difficult time for all of us."
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