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As family shrieks, police kill dog, Cooksville TN
Email ^ | 1/09/03 | FlyingA

Posted on 01/09/2003 7:29:12 AM PST by FlyingA

As family shrieks, police kill dog Wednesday, January 8, 2003 Posted: 10:26 PM EST (0326 GMT)

COOKEVILLE, Tennessee (CNN) -- Police video released Wednesday showed a North Carolina family kneeling and handcuffed, who shrieked as officers killed their dog -- which appeared to be playfully wagging its tail -- with a shotgun during a traffic stop.

The Smoak family was pulled over the evening of January 1 on Interstate 40 in eastern Tennessee by officers who mistakenly suspected them of a carjacking. An investigation showed James Smoak had simply left his wallet on the roof of his car at a gas station, and motorists who saw his money fly off the car as he drove away called police.

The family was driving through eastern Tennessee on their way home from a New Year's trip to Nashville. They told CNN they are in the process of retaining a lawyer and considering legal action against the Cookeville, Tennessee, Police Department and the Tennessee Highway Patrol for what happened to them and their dog.

In the video, released by the THP, officers are heard ordering the family, one by one, to get out of their car with their hands up. James Smoak and his wife, Pamela, and 17-year-old son Brandon are ordered onto their knees and handcuffed.

"What did I do?" James Smoak asks the officers.

"Sir, inside information is that you was involved in some type of robbery in Davidson County," the unidentified officer says.

Smoak and his wife protest incredulously, telling the officers that they are from South Carolina and that their mother and father-in-law are traveling in another car alongside them.

The Smoaks told CNN that as they knelt, handcuffed, they pleaded with officers to close the doors of their car so their two dogs would not escape, but the officers did not heed them.

Pamela Smoak is seen on the tape looking up at an officer, telling him slowly, "That dog is not mean. He won't hurt you."

Her husband says, "I got a dog in the car. I don't want him to jump out."

The tape then shows the Smoak's medium-size brown dog romping on the shoulder of the Interstate, its tail wagging. As the family yells, the dog, named Patton, first heads away from the road, then quickly circles back toward the family.

An officer in a blue uniform aims his shotgun at the dog and fires at its head, killing it immediately. For several moments, all that is audible are shrieks as the family reacts to the shooting. James Smoak even stands up, but officers pull him back down.

"Y'all shot my dog! Y'all shot my dog!" James Smoak cries. "Oh my God! God Almighty!" "You shot my dog!" screams his wife, distraught and still handcuffed. "Why'd you kill our dog?" "Jesus, tell me, why did y'all shoot my dog?" James Smoak says.

The officers bring him to the patrol car, and the family calms down, but still they ask the officers for an explanation. One of them says Patton was "going after" the officer.

"No he wasn't, man," James Smoak says. "Y'all didn't have to kill the dog like that."

Brandon told CNN Patton, was playful and gentle -- "like Scooby-Doo" -- and may have simply gone after the beam of the flashlight as he often did at home, when Brandon and the dog would play. The Tennessee Department of Safety, which oversees the Highway Patrol, has said an investigation is under way.

Cookeville Police Chief Robert Terry released a statement on the department's Web site Wednesday night describing the department's regret over the incident.

"I know the officer wishes that circumstances could have been different so he could have prevented shooting the dog," Terry wrote. "It is never gratifying to have to put an animal down, especially a family pet, and the officer assures me that he never displayed any satisfaction in doing so." Terry said he and the vice-mayor of Cookeville met with the family before they left "to convey our deepest sympathies" for the loss of their dog.

"No one wants to experience this kind of thing, and it's very unfortunate that it occurred," he wrote. "If we had the benefit of hindsight, I'm sure some -- if not all of this -- could have been avoided. I believe the Tennessee Highway Patrol feels the same way."

The department is conducting an investigation to determine what, if anything, could have been done differently, he said. Police also plan to be in contact with the Smoak family, Terry said. The Smoaks buried their pet at home. A white cross marks the grave.


TOPICS: Activism/Chapters; Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Free Republic; Front Page News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: Tennessee
KEYWORDS: cooksville; dog; family; jackbootedthugs; police; tn; warondogs
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Boy, those boys down South sure don't take any chances. Can you imagine what would have happened if that family came from a Yankee-land State like New York or Massachusetts? I suppose it would have been more than the dog that got shot.
1 posted on 01/09/2003 7:29:12 AM PST by FlyingA
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To: FlyingA
Sorry here is a Link to the Story


http://www.cnn.com/2003/US/01/08/police.kill.dog/index.html

2 posted on 01/09/2003 7:30:44 AM PST by FlyingA
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To: FlyingA
This is awful. Big lawsuit coming.
3 posted on 01/09/2003 7:35:32 AM PST by RichardW
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To: FlyingA
ANYBODY SHOOTS MY DOG WILL HAVE HELL TO PAY!!
4 posted on 01/09/2003 7:36:19 AM PST by apackof2
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To: FlyingA
What an idiot! I'm personally afraid of dogs I don't know, but geez one has to use some common sense. Even my five year old knows that if a dog is wagging his tail he is friendly. Put your hands down and hold still.....
5 posted on 01/09/2003 7:36:24 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: FlyingA
I'm happy that the incident was caught on tape. I say F'the dirty coppers' .... Hope they are sued for millions. The dog was killed with the family in very close proximity and they have a strong case for emotional distress damages.

In reflection, there is no justification for shooting a happy tail wagging little doggie. The family should flood the region with dog lovers and demonstrate. Bring in the bull horns!

6 posted on 01/09/2003 7:36:52 AM PST by ex-Texan
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To: FlyingA
And under the direction of John Ashcroft, these type events are going to be more common.
7 posted on 01/09/2003 7:38:01 AM PST by fogarty
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To: fogarty
oh gimme a break. get yer head outta yer azz.
8 posted on 01/09/2003 7:43:03 AM PST by smoking camels
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To: fogarty
Hmmm. DWB, you suppose? (Driving While Black)

Hey, all you law and order police lovers - come take a look.

9 posted on 01/09/2003 7:44:38 AM PST by Aristophanes
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To: smoking camels
BUMP
10 posted on 01/09/2003 7:45:28 AM PST by FlyingA
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To: netmilsmom
"Even my five year old knows that if a dog is wagging his tail he is friendly."

Even your five year old can be absolutely wrong. Dogs are animals, not dolls. Rethink what you are teaching your kid.

11 posted on 01/09/2003 7:47:00 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: Hatteras
Maybe it's time for the folks that went through this to "go after the cop"......
12 posted on 01/09/2003 7:59:59 AM PST by Rick.Donaldson
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To: ex-Texan
Hope they are sued for millions.

On what charge? Shooting a dog is not illegal. This is a loophole that cowards/sadists can use.

13 posted on 01/09/2003 8:02:55 AM PST by Hodar
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To: FlyingA
I hope they sue them for as much as they can get and make sure the cops are fired as well.

14 posted on 01/09/2003 8:07:59 AM PST by Bikers4Bush
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Comment #15 Removed by Moderator

To: fogarty
And under the direction of John Ashcroft, these type events are going to be more common.

Uh, sure. Why don't you draw out the line of command from these cops to Ashcroft, then we'll talk.

16 posted on 01/09/2003 8:11:07 AM PST by TankerKC ("In America any boy may become President and I suppose it's just one of the risks he takes." Adlai S)
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To: Aristophanes
Hmmm. DWB, you suppose? (Driving While Black)

Um, how did you leap to that conclusion? Perhaps they're just very light skinned.

smock

17 posted on 01/09/2003 8:12:14 AM PST by Slainte
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To: Hatteras
Really, I am scared of dogs, unless I know them. Can you help? How should I tell her to handle a strange dog. I told her to stand still, put your hands down by your sides and don't run. Never touch a dog unless the owner says you can. She is good about asking. What else should I tell her? Dog bites leave bad scars and hurt alot.
18 posted on 01/09/2003 8:13:16 AM PST by netmilsmom
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To: Hodar
I don't want to bust your bubble, however, depending on the breed, it is legal. THE main thing is that this story has been posted several times. Call the mayor of cookville, tn if you want to do something.
19 posted on 01/09/2003 8:18:22 AM PST by org.whodat
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To: Aristophanes
Hmmm. DWB, you suppose? (Driving While Black)

It appears not. Here's a photo of the fellow at the spot where his dog was shot.


20 posted on 01/09/2003 8:18:29 AM PST by Charles Martel
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To: All
See the video here. Click on “Dog Shooting Tape Released" to watch.
21 posted on 01/09/2003 8:23:08 AM PST by TankerKC ("In America any boy may become President and I suppose it's just one of the risks he takes." Adlai S)
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To: Slainte
Um, how did you leap to that conclusion?

It was a question, not a conclusion. See that squiggly little thing at the end of my sentence? That's a question mark. You use it when you need more info. ;^)

Thanks.

22 posted on 01/09/2003 8:24:11 AM PST by Aristophanes
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Comment #23 Removed by Moderator

Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: FlyingA
When the police are trying to control a situation, isn't it kind of SOP to shoot the dog?

If the police are concerned enought to have an entire family handcuffed and on the ground, they are not going to put up with a dog running around.
25 posted on 01/09/2003 8:35:23 AM PST by gridlock
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To: gridlock
I agree with you, lots of gangbangers and thugs have vicious dogs as back up weapons......the cop did the right think in killing that mongrel........I am getting so sick of these animal nut jobs anthropormophizing freakin animals.
26 posted on 01/09/2003 8:40:37 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: jbind
They have enough of a case where they wouldn't have to give the 1/3 fee to some sleeze. There are some reasons to hire a trial lawyer other than frivolous class action suits.
27 posted on 01/09/2003 8:41:34 AM PST by widowithfoursons
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To: jbind
Sorry ... I fit that description.
28 posted on 01/09/2003 8:42:54 AM PST by ex-Texan
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To: matthew_the_brain
as a follow up, if any stray dog enters my property barking and acting wily, I will for sure take out the mutt
29 posted on 01/09/2003 8:43:03 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: FlyingA
I know a cop who actually will give the dog the first bite.

Of course, the downside is that he'll then shoot the OWNER.

30 posted on 01/09/2003 8:44:47 AM PST by Poohbah (This tagline available, Freepmail me for rates)
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To: Hatteras
Find me one dog that attacks with its tail wagging.
31 posted on 01/09/2003 8:45:05 AM PST by walkingdead
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To: matthew_the_brain
Dogs are considered property, legally, and if this family sues, the most they will get is Actual Cash Value.....which is small claims material
32 posted on 01/09/2003 8:45:10 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: gridlock
"don't want to deal with a dog running around"

Then they should've SHUT THE FREAKING CAR DOOR! And as the tape shows they were asked to many times by the detainees.
33 posted on 01/09/2003 8:46:59 AM PST by walkingdead
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To: matthew_the_brain
"if any stray dog enters my property barking and acting wily, I will for sure take out the mutt"

Are you really so cowardly that you couldn't go out and get a stray barking dog outta your yard without killing it first?! Man, I sure hope my baseball never lands in your yard.....
34 posted on 01/09/2003 8:48:51 AM PST by walkingdead
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To: walkingdead
Find me one dog that attacks with its tail wagging.

The one that gave my buddy 23 stitches' worth of bite was wagging its tail while he did it.

35 posted on 01/09/2003 8:52:10 AM PST by Poohbah (This tagline available, Freepmail me for rates)
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To: walkingdead
Dude, not cowardly at all.....I call it practical, being bit in that exact situation you describe as a young man.....heck, a stray would not leave my yard last summer, but did eventually with the help of a pellet gun.

Never trust a dog you do not know......
36 posted on 01/09/2003 8:52:28 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: gridlock
So the officer who had his hand on the car door, looked inside, and said there's a dog in here, should have CLOSED THE D@MN DOOR. And that officer, who has not been named in the accounts I've read, was not the officer who shot the dog (but he's the officer who is responsible for the dog having been shot).
37 posted on 01/09/2003 8:52:51 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: matthew_the_brain
Yeah, looking at the photo in a previous post I can sure see how the cops thought they might be gangbangers or thugs...</sarcasm>
38 posted on 01/09/2003 8:54:17 AM PST by dark_lord
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To: matthew_the_brain
Be prepared to lose your property and the shirt off your back when the owners sue you, if you can't prove in court that your action was reasonable and justified (in front of a jury which has heard the sobbing owners testify).
39 posted on 01/09/2003 8:55:52 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: dark_lord
Watch the video.......they be thugs for sure
40 posted on 01/09/2003 8:56:03 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: matthew_the_brain
I guess you can classify me as an "animal nut job" because nobody shoots my dog, I don't give a crap who they are....
41 posted on 01/09/2003 8:57:04 AM PST by little-e
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To: GovernmentShrinker
You can only sue for damage or loss of property......which, if it is a mutt, is the ACV of said mutt.......which is lunch money and small claims material
42 posted on 01/09/2003 8:57:11 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: Poohbah
Some family on my moms side raise guard dogs. One year one actually got my little cousin by the head and was carrying her around and that wasn't even 23 stitches. If that dog was waging his tail when he got a hold of your buddy, he was PLAYING. Whether or not it hurt him is another story, but you can be 99% sure that the dog was not looking to kill him.

Now, there is the last 1% of oddities that could come into play. But I think what this lady has taught her daughter is some pretty sound dog handling advice.
43 posted on 01/09/2003 8:57:30 AM PST by walkingdead
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To: little-e
If he enters my private property, you better check him for pellets in the arse, cause he will for sure have a few.
44 posted on 01/09/2003 8:58:08 AM PST by matthew_the_brain
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To: matthew_the_brain
That is not accurate. The family can sue for emotional distress (as well as a lot of other things), which can be valued in the hundreds of thousands, in a situation where the shooting was completely avoidable and unjustified. Get a better handle on the law before you go shooting anybody's pet.
45 posted on 01/09/2003 8:58:24 AM PST by GovernmentShrinker
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To: netmilsmom
I would tell her to just keep walking away from any strange wandering dogs she encounters. She doesn't have to be afraid, but at her age she doesn't have to play Dr. Doolittle either.

As far as asking permission from the owner, I fully agree and even after getting that, I'd still extend my hand before I extend my face for a smooch. Start with a little tickle under the mouth and casually slide up under the jaw and behind the ears. Works for me everytime. (Of course, I also have a nasty habit of "bicycling" my feet when you scratch my belly too!)

Unfortunately when we teach a child to be "cautious" we sometimes give the unintended impression that they should be afraid. Confidence with caution. Dogs are funny about fear, they will sense it and some will react agressively toward it.

46 posted on 01/09/2003 8:59:22 AM PST by Hatteras
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To: matthew_the_brain
Ok, I can live with a pellet gun. But what alot of people don't realize is that dogs are roamers, if they can get in your yard, they probably will. And if you blow a dog away, chances are that you just blew away a small boy or girls best friend...
47 posted on 01/09/2003 8:59:58 AM PST by walkingdead
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To: walkingdead
If that dog was waging his tail when he got a hold of your buddy, he was PLAYING.

You know, that's EXACTLY what the owner said while I was applying a torniquet to my buddy's leg and calling 911.

Whether or not it hurt him is another story, but you can be 99% sure that the dog was not looking to kill him.

Animal Control didn't care about that--they just looked at the injury inflicted and said that the dog had to be put down.

48 posted on 01/09/2003 9:00:26 AM PST by Poohbah (This tagline available, Freepmail me for rates)
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To: FlyingA
Of course, these criminal cops will not be prosecuted, but if you shot a cop dog, K-9, you would be prosecuted for killing a cop.

Looks like we need to protect ourselves from cops, these days.
49 posted on 01/09/2003 9:00:38 AM PST by PatrioticAmerican
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To: Hodar
"Shooting a dog is not illegal."

So, you can kill anyone's dog that you choose?
50 posted on 01/09/2003 9:01:39 AM PST by PatrioticAmerican
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