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Overkill in the Suburbs

CHICAGO (CN) - A widower sued his suburban police force, claiming cops came to his house, took his guns and tried to commit him and revoke his gun license, because he'd told his therapist he wanted to beat up the doctor who had treated his late wife.

Arthur Lovi sued the Village of Arlington Heights and its police Officers David Lavin Jr., Charles Buczynski, McGuire and Ruge (first names unknown), in Federal Court. He did not sue the therapist, who is not identified in the complaint.

Lovi claims the officers searched his house and seized his guns without a warrant, and told him they would "tear the shit out of (his) house" if he made them get a warrant.

According to the complaint: "On August 30, 2012, plaintiff had a therapy session with a psychologist. This was the first in-depth session with this new therapist. During the session, plaintiff spoke about his wife that passed away nine years ago. Plaintiff told his therapist that the doctor treating his wife did not provide proper medical care. Plaintiff told his therapist that if he saw the doctor, he would beat him up, but that he would not seek the doctor out and cause him any harm. Plaintiff never threatened to kill the doctor. Plaintiff was simply expressing his anger at the doctor for not providing proper care for his wife.

"Plaintiff's therapist told plaintiff that she needed to report to the doctor and the police what plaintiff had said. Plaintiff's therapist, however, did not feel that plaintiff was currently a threat to himself or to others.

"After the session was completed, plaintiff's therapist notified the doctor and the

Arlington Heights police department regarding plaintiff's statements."

The therapist told defendant Officer Lavin "what plaintiff had said. Additionally, plaintiff's therapist told defendant Lavin that that she did not believe that plaintiff was a threat to himself or others and that an immediate medical evaluation was not necessary."

Nonetheless, Lovi continues: "The doctor that treated plaintiff's wife was contacted by the Arlington Heights Police Department. The doctor informed the Arlington Heights Police Department that he did not feel his safety was in jeopardy.

"After receiving this information from plaintiff's therapist, defendant Lavin called plaintiff at his home and asked him about the conversation he had with his therapist.

"Plaintiff told defendant Lavin that he did tell his therapist that he would punch the doctor if he saw him, but that he would never hurt the doctor and was just expressing his feelings to his therapist."

Much to his surprise, Lovi says, that evening four police officers came to his home without a warrant.

"The defendant-officers told plaintiff that they could go get a warrant, and that if he insisted they do that, they would come back and 'tear the shit out of [plaintiff's] house.'

"The defendant-officers seized plaintiff's antique firearms and his FOID [Firearm Owner Identification] card. There was no ammunition for any of the firearms.

"The defendant-officers did not have a search warrant, probable cause, exigent circumstances, or any other legal justification to seize plaintiff's antique firearms and FOID card," Lovi says. (Brackets in complaint.)

Two days later, Lovi says, he called the police department and asked for his guns back - and more officers showed up at his door.

"The officers asked plaintiff questions about his [late] wife. Plaintiff became upset and told them that he did not want to talk about his wife.

"Upon information and belief, the officers radioed for an ambulance to the scene.

"The officers told plaintiff that he needed to get in the ambulance and go to the hospital.

"Plaintiff told the officers that he did not want to go to the hospital.

"The officers told plaintiff that if he did not go into the ambulance willingly, they would handcuff him and physically put him in the ambulance.

"Upon information and belief, the Arlington Heights Police Department was trying to get plaintiff's FOID card revoked and were informed that if plaintiff was committed to a hospital for a psychological evaluation, his FOID card could be revoked.

"Plaintiff had a valid FOID card and a constitutional right to possession firearms.

"Plaintiff was transported to Northwest Community Hospital.

"Plaintiff was evaluated and it was determined that he did not need to be committed as there were no signs that he would be a harm to himself or others. Plaintiff was released from the hospital the same day."

Lovi he hired an attorney in October 2012 to recover his property, and when he finally got it, he says, "one of the firearms, which is a collector's item, was damaged. This collectable firearm was not damaged at the time it was unjustly confiscated by defendants. Plaintiff had to take it to a gun shop to get it repaired."

Lovi seeks punitive damages for unreasonable seizure, failure to intervene, unreasonable search, and emotional distress.

He is represented by Louis Meyer with Meyer & Kiss.

Arlington Heights, pop. 76,000, is a wealthy northwest suburb of Chicago. Its estimated median household income of $69,002 in 2009 was 28 percent above the state median, and its median house/condo value of $366,000 was 81 percent above the state median, according to

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