That’s what one Monroeville, Pennsylvania, woman is asking after being inadvertently shot by a Pittsburgh police officer. She was one of hundreds of innocent bystanders who were on a busy street while police pursued a criminal suspect and his mother in a car. Her story raises important questions about personal injury cases stemming from police efforts to protect the public.

The incident happened just before 2 a.m. one night early last month. Police were already engaged in a car chase that had gone on for five miles before the suspect car sped down a busy street on Pittsburgh’s South Side. Five police officers opened fire on the car; one of the bullets grazed the Monroeville woman’s back. She said she tried to tell one of the officers in the area that she’d been hit by a bullet, but that he didn’t pay much attention. So she went to the home of a friend and called 911. She and the friend are both nurses, so they were able to take care of the gunshot wound themselves, but she shudders to think what would have happened if the wound had been any closer to her spinal cord.

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The woman’s father is outraged, saying that police efforts to protect the public shouldn’t end up harming innocent people. He’s not the only one demanding accountability. Similar shootings have taken place in other cities, and those injured are usually left to recover on their own. If people are seriously injured by friendly fire, perhaps police should be prepared to take responsibility by compensating victims for their pain, suffering and medical expenses.

Source: TribLive, “Bullet grazed woman in South Side chase; mayor OK with police response,” Margaret Harding and Adam Smeltz, Jan. 14, 2013

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