On April 4, 2009, Richard Poplawski gunned down Pittsburgh police officers Stephen J. Mayhle, Paul J. Sciullo II and Eric G. Kelly, killing them all.
On June 2, 2010, Richard Poplawski’s mother sued Allegheny County claiming that the negligence of the 911 dispatcher who failed to inform the officers that there were weapons in the home, caused the shootout which has rendered her home uninhabitable.
Ms. Poplawski is asking the court to force Allegheny County to pay the fair market value of her home less any outstanding balance on her mortgage as of the day of the shootings; pay the cost of living for alternative housing; and compensatory damages.
Okay. I need to pause a moment here to take a deep breath. Not to calm myself down, but to make sure I lather up the correct amount of righteous indignation and spittle.
1. Do you know why officers Mayhle, Sciullo and Kelly went to Ms. Poplawski’s home? Because Ms. Poplawski called them. Called 911 and said, come get my son out of my house.
They went to her home in service to her. They went to her residence to protect her and her home from her son. They paid with their lives and she’s suing the County claiming negligence is the reason her house lies in ruins.
Let THAT sink in for a moment. Let it sink in nice and deep and then ask yourself, what the hell kind of lawyer takes on such a case?
2. Yes, the 911 operator will live the rest of her life knowing she for some reason typed in “no weapons” when in fact, there were weapons. But let’s just ask ourselves this: “What if she typed in ‘known weapons?'” Would that have changed anything?
I can only imagine it would have changed how the house was approached. Instead of officers Mayhle, Sciullo and Kelly approaching the house, it would have likely been more of a full on SWAT offensive. In other words, if they had known about the weapons, her house would have STILL come under fire and it would have been SHOCK. AND. AWE.
Her son fired bullets from the home. THAT is why the house came under fire. The officers didn’t say, “Hey, there’s no weapons here. Let’s blow this popsicle stand until it has more holes than SpongeBob SquarePants!”
It wasn’t until Richard opened fire and the officers were killed that the shoot-out began.
There is one person and one person ONLY to blame for the state of Ms. Poplawski’s house and that is Richard Poplawski — the son she asked those officers to come and remove from her home.
3. The city sued Ms. Poplawski last May because her home was uninhabitable.
City inspectors found the house at 1016 Fairfield St. lacking proper ventilation and smoke alarms in bedrooms, halls and on each floor, according to letters they sent to Margaret C. Poplawski in April.
The lawsuit says Ms. Poplawski and her mother, Catherine Scott, continue to enter the home through the garage door, “thereby acknowledging there is not adequate means of ingress and egress.” The city wants to keep her from entering the property until the problems are fixed.
Ms. Poplawski’s attorney, Leonard Sweeney, said she is not living in the home, though he declined to say where she is staying. He said repairs would be made “as soon as she is allowed entrance into the property.”
The lawsuit says Ms. Poplawski has not applied for a building permit to fix the code violations.
Ah, so she went from saying she’d repair the problems to suing the County. Seems to me her home was not in the best condition before the shootout and now she’s looking for the easy way out of a mortgage on a home she can’t inhabit due to her own negligence and the actions of her son.
4. If Ms. Poplawski believes that a negligent 911 dispatcher is even REMOTELY responsible for what happened to her home, then Ms. Poplawski should be okay with us looking at her and finding her responsible as well. It’s a two way street and I wonder how she’d feel if we said, “Well, you could have thrown the bullets away. You could have thrown the guns away. You could have gotten him help. You could have answered the door. You you you. But you didn’t. I’m suing YOU for the deaths of officers Mayhle, Sciullo and Kelly.”
At the very least, she might want to ask herself this question: “Who fired first?”
And she should answer herself, “My son did. When he met them at the door and shot two of them in the head.”
5. Is this the wrong analogy to make? But it seems like this is akin to accidentally starting a kitchen fire, calling the fire department, and then suing them for water damage.
6. If Ms. Poplawski earns one lousy cent because of the murderous actions of her son, I will lose my freaking mind and it will not be pretty and it will probably include lots of F words and possibly a straight-jacket and most definitely an overnight stay in jail.
And if she is awarded anything, I pray to God the judge rules that she shall receive a check in the amount of ten cents paid to the order of Eff You.
Rest in peace, officers.