A police officer didn’t touch the trigger of his holstered pistol when a bullet fired, striking his partner’s leg at a crime scene investigation in Wisconsin, a federal lawsuit says.
The Milwaukee Police Department officer never intended for the weapon — a P320 pistol from gun-maker Sig Sauer — to go off when it struck fellow officer Charles Laskey-Castle’s left thigh on Sept. 10, according to the lawsuit.
The immediate blood loss, nerve and tissue damage from the gunshot has caused Laskey-Castle to have issues walking, running, sitting and standing as he once did, as well as severe emotional trauma, the complaint says.
The Sig Sauer pistol is no longer used by the Milwaukee Police Department, which recently transitioned to using a Glock instead, a spokesperson told McClatchy News in a statement on March 30. They confirmed that at the scene of a hit-and-run, an officer’s firearm “inadvertently discharged” in their holster, hitting a nearby officer on Sept. 10.
Dozens of other gun users, including police officers, federal agents, Army veterans and trained civilians, were similarly and unexpectedly shot by the P320 pistol deemed “dangerously defective” in the lawsuit.
Laskey-Castle is one of 20 people who filed the lawsuit against Sig Sauer, Inc. in New Hampshire federal court on March 27.
The lawsuit comes after twenty separate individuals similarly sued Sig Sauer over the P320 pistol in November, McClatchy News previously reported.
Both cases are represented by the Saltz Mongeluzzi & Bendesky P.C. law firm and Benjamin T. King of Douglas, Leonard & Garvey, P.C. law firm, according to a news release, which says they’ve learned of over more than 125 separate occasions when the P320 pistol unintentionally discharged/ing.
“After every lawsuit that we have filed, more and more users have contacted us regarding their injuries from unintended discharges of their P320s,” attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi said in a statement. “Every complaint adds to the avalanche of evidence regarding the danger of this product.”
Sig Sauer spokeswoman Samantha Piatt told McClatchy News in a statement on March 30 that the pistol “is designed to fire when the trigger is pulled” and “includes internal safeties that prevent the firearm from discharging without a trigger pull.”
She denied the accusations made in the complaint.
‘Most dangerous pistol sold in the United States market’
The 20 plaintiffs whose “lives were upended” by the P320 pistol are from several states including Florida, Michigan, New Jersey, Texas, Maryland, Nevada and more, according to the complaint.
The complaint, which demands a trial by jury, describes the weapon as “the most dangerous pistol” sold in the U.S.
Meanwhile, the company says “careless and improper handling” of any gun can cause the weapon to unintentionally fire and that the P320 pistol meets U.S. safety standards online.
Pistol goes off in its holster
Plaintiff Marcos Hernandez was issued a P320 pistol as a Virginia state trooper, according to the complaint.
On Jan. 24, as Hernandez entered a state police office building, his holstered pistol suddenly went off and a bullet hit his right thigh, the complaint says.
Due to his injuries, “he will likely never be able to return to his pre-incident form as a result of diminished physical capacity,” the complaint says.
Plaintiff Erin Cooper, a D.C. Metro Transit Police Department officer, was issued a P320 pistol before it unexpectedly fired in her holster and hit her right leg on May 17, 2021, the complaint says.
The weapon went off as she put on her duty belt, causing a bullet to burn her right thigh, according to the complaint. The incident led to tinnitus — a ringing sensation heard in one or both ears — and emotional trauma, the complaint says.
Plaintiff Johnny Davis, who has 26 years of law enforcement experience, was issued a P320 from Puerto Rico State Police, according to the complaint.
On Nov. 16, when Davis fixed his waistband, his pistol fired in its holster and a bullet hit his testicle and left thigh, the complaint says.
Similar to the other plaintiffs, he says his injuries are likely to be long-lasting.
“We are calling on Sig Sauer to do what it should have done long ago - recall the P320 weapon and redesign the gun with the types of safeties used by its competitors,” attorney Robert Zimmerman, who’s also representing the plaintiffs, said in a statement.
The lawsuit seeks to recover damages for the plaintiffs.