I know… that title makes no sense, but those of you who have been following the numerous reports of police getting trigger happy with family pets who may or may not have been actually threatening may find this comforting. Or at least a little comforting.
According to a post in Law Enforcement today, police are advised to try not to kill our dogs because they might get in trouble for it. I’m saying this in the simplest of ways because the article itself is worded pretty carefully. For example:
In the area of use of force, the rulings in the cases of Tennessee v Garner and Graham v Connor provide understanding when a person is seized as well as under what circumstances an officer is to be found objectively reasonable based upon the totality of the circumstances at the time of the incident.
Yeah, I have no idea what he just said either. The post seems to be a warning to all officers to hold back a little on the pet slaughter, make sure they document copiously, & be aware that people are sometimes really attached to their dogs & will take legal action, which is bad, & also seems to say that this is the ASPCA’s fault, & man, are things tough for cops.
That’s cool. I don’t disagree. But back to dogs being “effects.”
The internet’s been abuzz with the viral video of Hawthorne police shooting Leon Rosby’s 2-yr-old Rottweiler, Max, who jumped out of Rosby’s car to defend his cuffed owner. The cops are receiving death threats & Rosby is filing a lawsuit (not his first).
When I first saw the video, I was outraged at the PD’s triggerhappy behavior. I couldn’t understand why they were arresting Rosby in the first place, even though he seemed to be aware as well as undisturbed that he was going to be arrested well before it happened.
I looked for other articles on the incident, & found one at dailybreeze.com which explained that the police were surrounding a house with a gunman inside, & that Rosby, who happened to be driving by from a dog park, pulled over with his stereo blasting, & refused to turn it down when asked.
A neighbor, who asked not to be identified, said the officers asked him to turn the music down, but he refused. Rosby, she said, responded, “It’s my (expletive) radio!”
A few days ago, Ridley police answered an assault call & ended up tasering a pit bull, which, at the time of being tasered, was in the act of charging at them. Why am I applauding cops for tasering a dog?
If you’ve followed the disturbing story of Cisco in Austin, where an officer went to the wrong house, surprised the homeowner & his dog, & then shot the dog, or if you’ve read the other countless stories of police indiscriminately killing homeowners’ dogs in their own homes, you would too. In the discussion under Incidents of Cops Shooting Dogs, Jennie said, “Our dogs aren’t allowed in the yard without supervision because I don’t trust an officer of the law ever. Not with my kids, not with my friends, not with my dogs.” Since Cisco, reading about the frequency with which officers of the law murder family pets & call it collateral damage has had me living in fear. I can’t call 911 for anything because I have dogs. I often worry about being away from home because someone else might call 911 for something in my area, & cops might need to climb into my yard or something. I fear for my dogs.
The Ridley incident is the first I’ve read that involves police officers treating a dog as we have all assumed protectors of the peace would – with reasonable, non-lethal force. They also treated the owner, who not only sicced his dog on someone & assaulted her but also refused to cooperate once police arrived, with proper respect & reasonable force. I’d like to compare what happened in Ridley to what happened in Austin:
A reader named Nicole left a very exciting link on one of my previous posts to a petition to Congress requesting mandatory dog handling education for police officers.
Some of you may be new to the controversy over the shooting of Cisco in Austin, when an Austin police officer went to the wrong house, surprised the homeowner & his dog who had been playing frisbee, & then shot the dog when it reacted to him (reports differ, although I’m inclined to go with the owner because the whole thing happened in 4 seconds & based on the dashcam audio the cop didn’t exactly enter the situation with a clear mind).
After you sign the petition, you also have the option of filling out an email webform which will send a letter with this request to the President & various congress members as relevant to your state (quite convenient!). I rewrote my letter & have posted my wording below. But first, here is the link:
Justice For Cisco shared this post by Wayne Vincent, President of the Austin Police Association. Although I can understand his message, I’m not sure if it was a good idea for him to do this, because it makes it look like the Austin PD just wants to forget what happened on April 14 (4/26 edit: actually, this is apparently really what they want to do).
The article focuses on how Austin PD is being blamed.
As we so often do on these occasions, we desperately looked for where to assign the blame. It seems we have been programmed to always believe this elusive thing called closure cannot occur until we have identified the guilty party.
The post then goes on to discuss how futile blame is. It expresses sympathy for both Mr. Paxton, Cisco’s owner, & Officer Griffith, who shot Cisco. All this is entirely reasonable to me, but I feel that it’s missing a really important component that I need for my own personal sense of closure.
I’d like to feel safe again.
I decided to see how often cops were killing people’s pets after following the Cisco debacle for the last few days. While there are countless stories of officers shooting dogs that were off leash &/or attacking, there is a very disturbing amount of incidents which make me feel afraid for my dogs even though I’m not a drug lord nor do I have any outstanding traffic citations.
Police invade home on false burglary call, shoot 11-yr-old, arthritic lab & leave the owner a note. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2010/10/01/BA3V1FN82L.DTL
Police terrorize then shoot non-aggressive, chained dog (David, you already know this one). http://www.liveleak.com/view?i=626_1276905053
SWAT team busts into home, shoots pit bull & Corgi in front of 7-yr-old for not even enough marijuana to convict.http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/05/06/swat-team-kills-dog-with-child-present-arrest-father-in-misdemeanor-marijuana-bust/
A few days ago on Facebook I saw a photo of what looked like a little dog sleeping, wrapped in a red blanket. I read the attached story, & it turns out that it was a 7-yr-old Blue Heeler named Cisco, who had been shot to death by an Austin police officer who had surprised Cisco & his owner while they were playing frisbee, menaced the owner, then shot Cisco when Cisco reacted with alarm.
Since then, his bereaved owner, Michael Paxton, has created a Facebook page called Justice for Cisco. He says that his aim is not to persecute the APD but to spread awareness so that this kind of tragedy doesn’t keep happening. As a dog owner, I totally support this. It’s terrible to think that some cop can randomly charge into my home for no reason, shoot my dog, & then yell at me about it. I have a lot of friends in HPD & I’d love to think of them as our protectors & heroes, not as rabid murderers. When things like this happen, though, how can one feel safe?