A moonlighting New Orleans cop who brought his police K-9 to a private security job broke no law, his lawyer argued Friday– and commited no malfeasance any more serious than failing to shine his shoes.
The dog, named Phantom, fell down an elevator shaft and to his death while he and Sgt. Randy Lewis were working a private security detail at a closed hospital building.
Lewis was not charged with animal cruelty, but with malfeasance.
Judge Ben Willard, after hearing closing arguments in the case Friday, delayed any verdict for another week. Lewis faces five years in prison and a $5,000 fine if found guilty, Nola.com reported
Lewis, a former supervisor in the department’s K-9 unit, took Phantom to the shuttered Charity Hospital in May 2009, where he had been hired to clear vagrants from the property. The dog fell from the 17th floor through a partially open elevator door.
Lewis took Phantom to the job without police department approval, and had signed forms saying no police equipment or animals would be used in the private job.
The dog’s body was not found until the next day, when the private company that hired him had the elevator drained. Lewis then had the dog cremated, before a necropsy could be performed.
Lewis, in his initial reports about the incident, said he was training the dog, and didn’t mention he was getting paid privately for his services.
His attorney, Eric Hessler, argued that Lewis had been working a private job and training his police dog at the same time.
Hessler likened the court proceedings to an officer being prosecuted for failing to shine his shoes.
Posted by jwoestendiek February 5th, 2013 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, cop, death, died, dogs, elevator, fell, job, k9, law enforcement, malfeasance, moonlighting, new orleans, pets, phantom, police, private, randy lewis, security, shaft, trial
Two New Orleans police officers have been charged in connection with the deaths of two police dogs in unrelated incidents.
Jason Lewis, 33, is accused of leaving Primo, a Belgian Malinois, unattended in a police department SUV, leading to the dog’s heat related death.
The case was heavily publicized last summer when the Metropolitan Crime Commission released photographs, including the one above, which shows what Primo did to the vehicle before dying from apparent heat stroke. Lewis was charged with aggravated cruelty to animals.
Sgt. Randy Lewis, a former supervisor in the New Orleans Police Department’s K-9 unit, meanwhile, was charged with malfeasance in office, the New Orleans Times-Picayune reports.
Randy Lewis, 45, was handling another K-9, Phantom, who last May fell down an open elevator shaft at the abandoned Charity Hospital building in downtown New Orleans — while Lewis was moonlighting. Lewis claimed he was on duty and involved in a training exercise, according to a spokesman for the Orleans Parish district attorney’s office. Actually he was being paid to work on a private security detail.
Neither officer has worked with dogs since the deaths.
Attorneys for the officers said the charges are unfair and they will fight them in court.
“Both of these cases are significant above and beyond the fact that, tragically, an animal lost its life,” said Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, which last summer asked the district attorney’s office to look at the cases. “I think that these cases, both of them, indicate and speak to the police department’s inability to adequately police itself.”
According to an LSU necropsy report, Primo, 6 years old, likely died from shock due to heat stroke. He was taken to a veterinary office with a body temperature of 109.8 degrees.
The other dog, Phantom, died after falling from the 17th floor into an empty elevator shaft at around 9:30 at night on May 21, 2009. According to a report obtained by the Crime Commission, the dog’s body was removed by officers the next morning.
Posted by jwoestendiek April 24th, 2010 under Muttsblog.
Tags: animals, belgian malinois, charged, charges, cruelty to animals, dogs, elevator, fall, fell, heat, heat stroke, jason lewis, K-9, k-9 unit, k9, law enforcement, left in car, malfeasance, metropolitan crime commission, new orleans, officers, ohmidog!, pets, phantom, police, police dogs, primo, randy lewis, shaft, vehicle