Police Sergeant Who Shot Man Sues Department Saying He Has PTSD …


By Peter Hermann

10:13 AM EST, February 14, 2012

A Baltimore police sergeant who says he shot and killed a young man in 2005 is suing the agency, saying it refused to help him with his post traumatic stress disorder.

The sergeant, Richard A. Willard, is not on active duty. He owns the gourmet grill cheese food truck parks in various parts of the city. City officials declined to comment on the suit, citing policy of not addressing pending litigation.

Willard, who has been an officer since 1992, says in the suit that he shot the man to protect fellow officers, but “nevertheless felt regret for killing the young man, despite the justified and even necessary nature of his action.” The suit says “he felt the need for counseling after the incident.”

But, the lawsuit alleges, the police department did not “provide counseling.” Willard says that in 2009 he requested medical leave “as he did not feel that he could perform his duties as a police officer under the post-traumatic stress disorder.” In 2010, he requested disability retirement, which he says was denied. 

The lawsuit says that the police commissioner told Willard he would be fired, rather than given a disability retirement. A termination hearing is scheduled for Willard on Feb. 22, he says in the lawsuit.

Baltimore police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, while not commenting on the specific case, said that officers involved in shootings see a Critical Incident Stress Team, whose members typically respond to scenes. Also, officers involved in shootings are put on mandatory desk duty. Union officials say they must see counselors before they are restored to duty.

Willard declined to talk about his case and we’re awaiting a response from his attorney. It appears from the suit that Willard sought additional counseling four years after the shooting, which he what he says was denied.

The Washington Post this week wrote a story speaking with police officers who use deadly force, and how they’ve coped. Read “Killing the line of duty haunts police officers.”

Copyright © 2012, The Baltimore Sun

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