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Three MO Police Officers Sue Over Meth Exposure

Three MO Police Officers Sue Over Meth Exposure

State and federal law enforcement officers are seen outside a house where a meth lab exploded during a police raid, in Franklin, N.H. , Tuesday, April 6,2010. [AP]

Associated Press

November 28, 2010

KANSAS CITY, MO – A lawsuit alleges that three Missouri police officers suffered permanent injuries after inhaling poisonous vapors in a 2007 raid on a methamphetamine lab.

The current and former officers in Butler, Mo., allege in the lawsuit filed this week in federal court in Kansas City that they were not properly trained in the risks of meth labs and in the use of available protective equipment.

The lawsuit was filed against the current and former police chiefs of the city, which is about an hour south of Kansas City, as well as the former mayor of Butler, who is now deceased.

After the November 2007 raid, officers Mark Frost, Harold Anderson and Kenneth Rush were hospitalized for about a week with chemically induced pneumonia and heart murmurs, the lawsuit says.

All will suffer lifelong health problems as a result, the lawsuit alleged, although all three continue to work in law enforcement.

Frost is still an officer in Butler. Anderson is the Bates County, Mo., sheriff. Rush works for the sheriff’s department.

Butler Police Chief Jim Garnett said Friday that he had not seen the lawsuit and could not comment on the allegations.

The suit contends that Butler officials had obtained a grant to buy breathing masks to protect officers from meth lab fumes but had not provided training in their use.

On the day of the 2007 raid, the operators of the meth lab began throwing chemicals into a sump pump. The mixture of water with sulfuric acid, anhydrous ammonia and camping stove fuel created a fog that the officers inhaled as they forced their way in to serve a search warrant, according to the lawsuit.

Ashley Baird, the plaintiffs’ attorney, said the full extent of the injuries was not yet known.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought.

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