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AZ woman upset after police damage claim denied by City

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 11:15:26-04

PHOENIX, AZ — Weeks after a police situation damaged a Phoenix woman's fence, she is being compensated for the cost of repairs.

Coni Cabot says her next-door neighbor had been hard to live near for several months. So, when she came home the evening of May 4, she wasn't surprise by the police presence.

"They told me that I would have to leave my house because the next-door neighbor was threatening to blow up with gasoline," she recalls.

Eventually Cabot says police needed to bring in what she describes as a "tank," and asked if they could park it in her back yard. That meant pushing her immobile truck out of the way and cutting down her chain-linked fence.

"One of the policemen gave me his card and it had the number of risk management and he said they'll take care of the damages," she said.

Confident the City would take responsibility, Cabot got an estimate: $1150 would repair two fences that had been damaged in her front and back yards. She filed a claim with the City of Phoenix, and says while she waited for a response, her yard, which backs up to an irrigation ditch, was exposed to transient people who avoid walking on the street.

"There was a transient right by the open part and he said, 'I'm thirsty,' and he said, 'Can I have some water,' so I gave him some water," she says. "I just want to feel safe and right now this is not a secure situation at all."

The City of Phoenix Risk Management denied her claim.

In its denial letter, the City wrote that officers "acted diligently and reasonably" and "it does not appear that the City is legally responsible for your damage..."

"I'm not blaming the police because I like police and I like what they do, but I was led to believe that it would be all taken care of," she says.

After Cabot appealed and was denied a second time, she let me know.

We contacted the City to ask what happened with this situation and what residents can expect from the City if something similar happens to them.

One week later, a city spokesperson let me know that Cabot's "claim was reconsidered and the damages to the fence will be paid by the city."

Cabot says she received a call from police apologizing and was told the City would be cutting a check this week.

Arizona law allows 180 days from an incident for residents to file a claim against public entities, schools or employees.