A woman whose home was destroyed in a deadly confrontation between her estranged husband and St. Petersburg police has filed a lawsuit against the City of St. Petersburg, former Mayor Bill Foster and former Police Chief Chuck Harmon.
"There's no disputing her house was leveled and razed with everything in it, without an opportunity for her to even retrieve her purse or her animals," attorney James Wadell told FOX 13 News. "What's right is right and in this case it was right for the city to reimburse her.
Wadell represents Christine Lacy, who was married to Hydra Lacy. In January 2011, a fugitive squad went to her home in search of Hydra Lacy, the subject of two arrest warrants.
Hydra Lacy was hiding in the home's attic, and killed two St. Petersburg police officers and wounded a federal agent.
In the hours that followed, the home was riddled with bullets, filled with more than 100 tear gas canisters and the roof was partially removed. At one point, a bulldozer pushed Christine Lacy's car into the house.
Hydra Lacy's body was recovered, the house was deemed structurally unsound, and city workers razed it the same day. Christine Lacy was instructed by officers to leave the house before the violence erupted.
"I'm treating her as a victim," then-Mayor Bill Foster told reporters the next day. "She lost everything…I recognize that whole-heartedly and will assume responsibility in the fact that she lost everything and we will take care of her."
Two months later, in March 2011, Christine Lacy gave the city a list of lost personal goods totaling more than $63,000. Foster told FOX 13 News at the time he had spoken to her by phone and "She has no intention of taking advantage of the city or the situation."
However, the mayor added "I explained we have claims processes we have to go to."
Christine Lacy wrote a letter to the mayor in May 2013, but Wadell said Tuesday the city has refused to discuss the claim.
"They said we're not responsible, and they said the mayor doesn't have the authority to bind us."
The attorney said his client's home insurance did not cover any of her losses in part because of the mayor's statements and because the policy excluded losses resulting from a government action.
"This is not a case of somebody seeking a secondary gain," Wadell asserted. "She's just trying to replace the stuff that she had."
FOX 13 / WTVT-TV
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