Who’s on the hook if police damage your property?

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Two vehicles were damaged by bullets in Friday’s police shooting of a 13-year-old Autistic boy in the Glendale neighborhood of Salt Lake City.

“Eight shots. Pop, Pop, Pop, and I just came running outside,” said Petra Vigil.

Vigil’s SUV was one of the vehicles damaged.

“When we came back to the house, my daughter told me ‘mom, they shot your car.'”

Two bullets went through her back windshield.

Another bullet went through the driver side head rest of a pickup truck parked further up the street.

“Tragically, in this particular case as well as many others, these individuals don’t have a lot of recourse,” said Connor Boyack, President of the Libertas Institute in Lehi.

Boyack’s agency does legal research on a wide range of issues including property rights.

“It seems cities that employ these agencies, even the departments themselves will just give the stiff arm to the individual and say sorry it’s not our fault,” said Boyack.

ABC4 did reach out to the Salt Lake City Police Department

We were told in this case a person would need to file a claim with the city’s risk management.

“Risk management is basically the insurance for the government,” said Boyack. “Across the country, there have been other instances like this when the city will say go file an application with insurance, and the individuals will go through that process. They’ll compile all their documents, dot their “i’s” cross their “t’s”. Then they’ll get the response back, ‘oh sorry, we’re not actually required to help you out at all.'”

In Vigil’s case, the damage to her vehicle was $208 to fix.

It’s money she doesn’t have. She is now working with the Libertas Institute to take care of the issue.

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