Skip to comments.As family shrieks, police kill dog (probably due to a lack of fresh donuts)
Posted on 01/08/2003 10:02:50 PM PST by spetznaz
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."
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
If those cops would have the patience to spend that time (and risk a bite) to ensure the dog was removed without any need for a shotgun i do not see why the Tennessee cops would pull over a family, shackle them, and then shoot their dog! They could have used extra prudence and checked up on the vehicle (in my parts when cops stop a car they have this computer thingimajig in their car which they can use to run the number plate and see if the car is stolen ....maybe Tn cops do not have such stuff). And why did they have to handcuff the whole family ...and even if they felt the family boded some 'danger' why did they not shut the car door so that the dogs would not get out (the wife pleaded with them to close the doors).
I think these cops were simply behaving unprofesionally (or maybe in Tennessee families driving in cars with their dogs fit the profile of 'violent criminals bent of death and mayhem who need to be cuffed and forced to kneel, and have their rabid bloodthirsty hounds of hell put to death!')
BTW I wonder how much TN tax payers are going to have to fork over for these jack booted thugs lack of professionalism.
Sadly, not much in this case... generally, liability for killing a dog is its replacement value. Since this dog was a mutt, probably not much.
I usually think such lawyers are nothing more than predators but i think this is one place they would really be useful!
The dog may only cost 100-200 bucks however i am sure to the family it was priceless ....like one of the kids! Hence just giving those folks a couple of benjamins and expecting things to be smoothed over should nto be allowed to be! Those cops essentially killed a member of the family, and i am sure one of those sly lawyers can find a way of making the police department pay for their irrational actions.
Can't imagine a jury convicting.
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