Tag: law enforcement
Former Baltimore police officer Jeffrey Bolger will receive $45,000 in back pay for the time he spent on unpaid leave after slitting a dog’s throat.
Bolger, 50, was acquitted last year of animal cruelty charges after killing the dog — a Sharpei who had wandered away from her home.
The Baltimore Sun reports that, pending approval today from the Board of Estimates, Bolger will get payment for about 10 months of paychecks.
Despite police commanders called the killing “outrageous and unacceptable” — and witness who claimed to have heard Bolger say, “I’m going to (expletive) gut this thing” — Phinn ruled the officer was acting in the interest of public safety.
Bolger was forced to retire early from the Police Department, but under the police union contract, he is entitled to receive back wages for the period he was suspended.
Steven H. Levin, who defended Bolger, said his client was unnecessarily charged and suspended from the department. “The evidence was overwhelming that Mr. Bolger acted appropriately,” Levin said Monday.
Nala escaped through a gate in her Canton backyard, and bit the hand of a woman who was trying to rescue her.
Witnesses told police that fellow officer Thomas Schmidt held down the dog while Bolger slit her throat. Charges against Schmidt were later dropped.
(Photo: Nala and her owner, Sarah Gossard)
Posted by John Woestendiek March 9th, 2016 under Muttsblog.
Tags: $45, 000, acquitted, animals, back pay, baltimore, contract, dog, dogs, jeffrey bolger, killed, knife, law enforcement, nala, officer, pets, police, police union, police. officer, runaway, sarah grossard, sharpei, slit, throat, trial
I’m not sure if it’s the technophobe in me or the nature-lover in me, but something about this video makes me smile inside.
Police in the Netherlands, concerned about the security threat posed by unmanned aerial drones, have enlisted eagles to bring them down.
The Dutch National Police Force announced that they’ve partnered with Danish company, Guard from Above, to train the birds, according to Global News.
Just as with police dogs, there’s a potential that law enforcement might misuse its new-found ally. There are probably questions that could be raised from an animal rights perspective, as well. On top of that, I’d hate to think that eagles were somehow being used to abridge free speech.
But police officials emphasized the eagles won’t be going after law-abiding drones, just those that are posing a security threat.
“There are situations in which drones are not allowed to fly. This has almost always to do with security,” Mark Wiebe, innovation manager of the National Police, said in a press release. (No need to click that link unless you speak Dutch.)
The video above is from a demonstration National Police put on last Friday, during which one of the trained birds successfully tracked and brought down a standard commercial drone in mid-air.
It’s almost as if the regal birds are taking back the sky, which, in our view, was their’s to begin with.
Yes, I’m definitely seeing too much symbolism in it, but watching still makes me say, “Go Eagles!”
Posted by John Woestendiek February 5th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, company, drone, drones, dutch, dutch national police force, eagle, eagles, guard from above, law enforcement, nature, police, security, technology, the netherlands
In a settlement that’s being called one of the largest ever for a wrongful pet death, the owner of a dog shot and killed by police in Commerce City, Colorado, will receive $262,000,
Chloe, a 3-year-old chocolate Lab mix, was shot and killed by police in 2012 — after she’d been secured with a catch pole and shot with a stun gun.
A video camera captured Officer Robert Price firing five shots at the dog.
Chloe had been Gary Branson’s companion and therapy dog since 2008.
“I am happy that we have been vindicated,” Branson said. “She deserved justice for what happened to her. This has been a very difficult time for me and am glad that it is now settled.”
The payment was part of a settlement aimed at avoiding a federal civil court trial scheduled later this month, KDVR reported.
Branson had left the dog in the care of a relative during an out of town trip in November 2012. The relative left the dog in the garage while running errands and Chloe somehow activated the door’s sensor, making it open.
A neighbor saw the unleashed dog and called police to report an aggressive “pit bull”-type dog roaming the neighborhood.
When police arrived, Chloe was back in the garage. After getting the noose of a catch pole around her neck, and using a Taser on the dog, Officer Robert Price, deeming the dog’s behavior as threatening and aggressive, shot Chloe.
Commerce City police, after a review of the incident, said Price was acting “within policy” when he killed the dog.
He was nevertheless charged with aggravated animal cruelty, only to be later acquitted by an Adams County jury.
Attorney Jennifer Edwards with the Animal Law Center said that decision prompted the filing of a lawsuit.
“It wasn’t surprising. I think the prosecutor’s office was pretty conflicted in this,” Edwards says, “At that point my client did not feel much vindication so the only thing left is to pursue a civil remedy.”
Edwards said the settlement sets precedent for thousands of other cases.
“It speaks volumes as to the fact that this isn’t going to happen and you’re not going to not be held accountable,” she said.
For Branson, the settlement still isn’t enough to replace what he lost.
“No amount of money could replace Chloe,” he said.
Below is the video (be warned, it is disturbing) of Chloe’s death, taken by one of Branson’s neighbors.
(Photo from Justice for Chloe Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek January 27th, 2016 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, chloe, chocolate lab, civil, colorado, commerce city, court, dog, dogs, five times, gary branson, justice for chloe, law enforcement, lawsuit, mix, pets, pit bull, police, police killing dogs, settled, settlement, shot
A new documentary brings attention to an epidemic that really needs some — the shooting of dogs by police officers in America.
Anyone who reads this website knows it happens far too much — take Tuesday, for example — and often without good reason.
There are no firm statistics, but consider the estimates: The Department of Justice says about 10,000 dogs are shot by police officers every year.
And the number of police officers killed by dogs? None. Ever.
The documentary “Of Dogs and Men” takes a look at those alarming numbers, and what’s behind them, featuring many of the same cases we’ve reported here:
• Cisco, who was playing Frisbee with his owner in his Austin, Texas back yard when police at the wrong address for a domestic dispute call, shot and killed him.
• Payton and Chase, who were shot by police during a raid on a Maryland home – not only was their owner innocent of any charges, he is the town’s mayor.
• General Patton, who watched as his owners were handcuffed on the side of a Tennessee highway, completely innocent of any charges, and then killed as he exited the car, wagging his tail.
• Patches, a 12 pound Jack Russell terrier, who was shot by a 250-pound police officer who claimed to be in fear for his life.
“From SWAT raids to simple calls and even visits to wrong addresses, we are seeing more and more incidents of officers using lethal force against a family pet, despite the fact that no officer has ever been killed in the line of duty by a dog,” said director Michael Ozias. “We are hoping that this film compels more jurisdictions to follow the lead of states like Texas and Colorado that have taken steps to protect our law enforcement officers and our family dogs through increased awareness, proper training and effective policy.”
Of Dogs and Men, by Ozymandias Media, Inc., will premier Nov. 1 at the Austin Film Festival.
The film is being released in association with the Animal Legal Defense Fund (ALDF).
“Use of deadly force is rarely justified in these types of cases,” said ALDF Executive Director Stephen Wells. “With better training, we are confident that we can put an end to these pointless killings,”
“Of Dogs and Men does an excellent job educating citizens on both the common facts of these heartbreaking cases and the surprising scope of the problem, while highlighting the tools citizens can employ to change outcomes for the better—from legislation requiring officer training in canine encounters to litigation under the federal civil rights act,” Wells added. “This film needed to be made and ALDF is proud to be a part of it.”
Some states are headed in the right direction.
Texas, where the problem is perhaps most severe, passed HB 593 in 2015, which requires mandatory canine encounter training for incoming Texas peace officers as well as those who seek advancement. The training helps officers who encounter dogs achieve safe and non-confrontational outcomes for both the officer and the dog.
The State of Colorado also enacted a statute that requires local law enforcement to undergo training to differentiate between threatening and non-threatening dog behaviors, and employ non-lethal means whenever possible.
Illinois has enacted similar legislation and other states are considering it as well.
Posted by John Woestendiek October 23rd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: aldf, animal legal defense fund, animals, documentary, dog, dogs, epidemic, killed, killing, law enforcement, of dogs and men, officers, pets, police, shooting, shot, statistics
No dog has ever killed a police officer in the line of duty.
And yet police officers, in the line of duty, shoot about 10,000 dogs a year in America, according to Department of Justice estimates.
One of the latest fatalities in the epidemic was Duchess, shot down Tuesday by an officer who acted quickly, if not wisely.
Within the space of about two seconds, a Florida City police officer determined the dog running out a front door he had knocked on was a threat and shot him three times.
The 40-pound pit bull mix died almost instantly as a surveillance camera recorded the incident.
Gillian Palacios said her two-year-old dog ran out of the front door when she started to open it.
The officer had knocked on the door to let the family know their car door was open.
“Before I could even do anything, the officer had his gun out and shot her three times in the head,” she told WPLG.
“She was curious. She wasn’t barking (and) she wasn’t growling,” Palacios said. “There was no reason for him to think she was aggressive in any way.”
“There were a million things he could have done other that shoot her three times in the head,” she added.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Florida City police spokesman Ken Armenteros defended the officer’s actions.
“We don’t have the luxury of hindsight,” Armenteros said. “We have to use the information that is given to us in a split second. So, the officer has to make that decision with the information that he has available.”
What about the luxury of foresight, though, we’d ask?
What about a mandatory program that trains all of a police force’s officers in canine behavior, how to interpret it, how to deal with it and how to make their split second decisions a little more wisely, a little less rashly?
All state legislatures should require such training, all police forces should get it in place. Only then will the “shoot first” mentality, and the thinking that dog lives don’t matter, begin to subside.
(Tomorrow: A look at a new documentary that explores the epidemic, “Of Dogs and Men.”)
Posted by John Woestendiek October 22nd, 2015 under Muttsblog, videos.
Tags: animals, dog, dog shootings, dogs, duchess, florida city, investigation, law enforcement, mix, officer, pets, pit bull, police, police shooting dogs, questionable, questions, shooting, shootings, shot, surveillance, video
A black Lab named Bear is being credited with playing a vital role in building the child pornography case against Subway spokesman Jared Fogle.
While he is not a “porn-sniffing” dog, as some headlines are describing him, Bear is said to be one of only five dogs in the country trained to sniff out electronic media storage devices.
After four months of training, Bear can detect SD cards, thumb drives, iPads and more.
The dog has worked five investigations for the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force, including the one at Fogle’s Zionsville residence.
Officials divulged yesterday how many electronic items seized from Fogle’s home were examined — 16 smartphones, five basic cellphones, five mp3 players, five tablets, six laptops, one desktop, six hard drives, five cameras, 10 flash drives, 10 memory cards, 46 CDs and 22 DVDs.
Bear sniffed out a thumb drive that humans had failed to find during a search of Fogle’s home — several weeks before he pleaded guilty to having X-rated images of minors and paying to have sex with teenage girls.
Bear also took part in the investigation leading to this week’s arrest of Olympics gymnastics coach Marvin Sharp.
This week his owner and trainer, Todd Jordan, sold Bear to the Seattle Police Department to help investigate Internet crimes.
Jordan, a deputy fire chief, also trains dogs and sells them to law enforcement agencies.
Jordan gave NBC News a demonstration of Bear’s abilities, walking him through an apartment while repeatedly giving him the command “Seek!”
The dog zeroed in on a kitchen drawer, which Jordan opened to reveal a device. “Good boy!” he told Bear, giving him a treat.
Jordan got Bear as a rescue a year ago and spent four months training him on a food-reward system.
(Photos: (Jim Seida / NBC News)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 27th, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: bear, black lab, cds, child porn, child pornography, devices, dog, electronic storage devices, flash drives, indiana, iPads, jared, jared fogle, labrador retriever, laptops, law enforcement, SD cards, sniffing, spokesman, subway, thumb drives, trained
If it seems you’ve seen a lot of stories about police dogs dying of heat exhaustion this summer, it’s because you have.
Since the last week of May, 11 police dogs have died from the heat, and nine of those cases stemmed from dogs left in hot police cars, according to the Weather Channel.
The 11 deaths this summer compare with four nationwide in 2014 and three in 2013, according to records kept by the Officer Down Memorial Page.
The latest death came last week in Kohler, Wisconsin, when a police dog named Wix (pictured above) died in a squad car as his handler worked at a PGA Championship event.
Wix died as the result of heat exhaustion after the air conditioning unit in the vehicle malfunctioned, and the heat alarm in the vehicle failed to go off.
Wix, a Belgian malinois, was on special assignment with his handler at the Whistling Straights golf course. His handler found him unresponsive in the vehicle when he went to check on him.
Several other police dog deaths this summer have been blamed on faulty air conditioners.
In Oklahoma, a Muldrow Police Department dog named Zeke died from heat exhaustion after the air conditioner in his handler’s patrol car malfunctioned.
His handler was inside the police station working on a case and left Zeke in the car for at least an hour. At some point the air conditioner malfunctioned and began blowing only hot air. His handler returned to the car to find him dead.
Zeke had served with the Muldrow Police Department for four years.
Two more police dogs died in the same incident in Hialeah, Florida; and in Jim Wells County, Texas, deputy Latham Roldan was fired from the department after the K-9 he left in his squad car died from the heat.
(Photo:Brown County Sheriff’s Department Facebook page)
Posted by John Woestendiek August 21st, 2015 under Muttsblog.
Tags: air conditioning, animals, cars, deaths, dogs, heat, heat exhaustion, heat-related deaths, increase, K-9, k9, law enforcement, pets, police, police dog deaths, police dogs, vehicles