The Korea Herald


Stray bullet injures American, state to pay compensation

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : April 8, 2024 - 14:19

    • Link copied

(123rf) (123rf)

A South Korean court recently ordered the state to pay 209 million won ($154,000) as compensation to a US national who police mistakenly injured with a gun while trying to take down a dog on a rampage.

The civil case division of the Seoul District Court on Thursday ruled in favor of the 68-year-old American, who demanded compensation for injuries he sustained in the unintended attack.

"The accident occurred as a result of a police officer's illegal actions, which is beyond the degree of weaponry use allowed. As such, the state must compensate for the damages sustained by the plaintiff," the court said in its verdict.

The incident occurred in March 2020 in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, when local police officers attempted to take down a pit bull that had attacked a pedestrian and multiple other dogs. After attempts to stun the dog with a taser failed, police shot the animal.

One shot missed its target and hit the road near the victim, who was struck by fragments of the bullet.

The court said using a gun was not necessary in dealing with the situation, and the officer failed to prevent potential damages to civilians. It said the situation could have been avoided if the officer made sure the taser gun was fully charged, which it had not been.

The police officer in question was charged with bodily injury by negligence, but escaped criminal punishment when a court ruling in October cleared him.