Skip to comments.Cop took just 3 seconds to shoot dog
Posted on 01/08/2003 11:35:54 PM PST by JohnHuang2
The Tennessee policeman who shot and killed a family's dog during a terrorizing traffic stop took just three seconds to slay the animal after it jumped out its owners' car, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen.
Law-enforcement authorities released a videotape of the incident yesterday, which shows the three-second time frame on the tape's counter.
The Cookeville police officer who shot the dog, Eric Hall, has since been reassigned to administrative duties while the incident is probed.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the Smoak family was returning to their home in North Carolina on New Year's Day when three police cars swarmed their vehicle on Interstate 40 in what appeared to be a traffic stop.
The Smoaks appear on CNN
A Tennessee Highway Patrol officer broadcast orders over a bullhorn for driver James Smoak to toss the keys out of the car window, get out with his hands up and walk backwards to the rear of the car. Smoak obeyed and was subsequently ordered onto his knees and handcuffed at gunpoint. Officers similarly handcuffed his wife, Pamela, and their 17-year-old son with their guns drawn.
As the troopers were putting the family members inside the patrol car, one of the Smoak family dogs, a boxer-bulldog mix named Patton, came out of the car and headed toward one of the Cookeville officers who were assisting the THP troopers.
"That officer had a flashlight on his shotgun, and the dog was going toward that light, and the officer shot him, just blew his head off," Pamela Smoak told the Herald-Citizen. "We had begged them to shut the car doors so our dogs wouldn't get out, [but] they didn't do that."
The Smoaks had been pulled over by mistake after someone reported seeing the car getting on the highway with cash flying out from behind the vehicle. James Smoak, it turns out, had mistakenly left his wallet on the roof of the car when he stopped to get gas. Someone within the THP reportedly thought a robbery had occurred, though it turns out none had.
Hall claimed he was acting in self-defense.
"I yelled at the dog to get back, but it attempted to circle me to attack, so I felt that I had no option but to protect myself," the officer wrote in a police report.
Police Chief Bob Terry told the Herald-Citizen, "We are aware there is a lot of criticism out there over this incident, and we want to take [Hall] off the road and let him perform other duties while we get this all resolved." Terry stressed that Hall was not being punished for killing the dog.
The Herald-Citizen reports that "to an average viewer, the scene recorded on the video may not demonstrate the aggressiveness or the threat the officer said he experienced as the dog came toward him."
Terry said he will have two unrelated police agencies perform independent reviews of the incident.
"We once again extend our deepest concerns to the Smoak family for their loss," Terry said. "We know this was a terrible experience for them, and we truly wish that we could undo the events that occurred on the night of Jan. 1."
The Smoaks recently told their story on CNN's "Connie Chung Tonight."
Speaking of Patton, son Brandon Smoak told Chung, "He's the gentlest dog that I've ever been around. He's like Scooby Doo. He wasn't mean at all."
So a dog coming out of a car, that the pig was warned about, is attacking? Once again, did you watch the video? Or are you just a cheerleader for whatever the authorities want? Last time the cheerleaders for unchecked law enforcement won, the Italians had Mussolini and Germans had Hitler. I guess to you, if they are wearing a badge, they must always be right, eh?
This is the kind of lying, lilly-livered, yellow-bellied, chicken-sh*t scum we have toting guns and badges around. It makes me ill.
I hope a jury awards millions to this terrorized family. As a dog owner, I know that dogs are not just pets... they are loved and cherished just like any other member of your family. Often they are loved even more than some family members.
This could not have been a more savage act of brutality, or a more clear-cut case of Barney Fife ineptitude and stupidity, if the idiot cop had shot the Dad in the head as he emerged from the car.
Cookeville Chamber of Commerce
One West First Street
Cookeville, TN 38501
And sir, the only part of that that didn't happen is that the dog attacked a cop, forcing him to defend himself. And that has you all broken up.
He was asked time and again to SHUT THE CAR DOOR! Why didn't they do that? Hmmm? And how would you feel, sir, if it was YOUR WIFE AND SON being terrorized by these brutes? This "mistake" as you put it is not corrected with an apology! JUSTICE MUST BE SERVED. Firing and jail. I demand it.
Meanwhile, you are setting things up so that the police will forever be raked over the coals for not acting preemptively to prevent or stop crime, AND AT THE SAME TIME raked over the coals for every mistake they make attempting to prevent or stop crime.
Police need to get humble and stop acting like they own the world and everything in it. They are public SERVANTS. They are not ABOVE THE LAW. Tell you what, what if I make a citizen's arrest on the next cop I see speeding down the road? How about that? I don't like cops becuase they are good for nothing. How many crimes do they prevent out of the total - about 1%? I can protect my own family - I don't need a revenue collector with a badge to harrass my neighborhood. Cops are arrogant in general and do not police their own - it is a mutual admiration society. That cannot be denied.
Yes sir, you bet. I'm willing to give them a break. They made a mistake. The family cooperated. Everything was on-line to a quick resolution -- until the dog attacked the human. Too bad. Bad dog!
Are you a cop or something? Is your daddy a cop? That is the only explanation for your blindness to this crime! They terrorized that family WITH ZERO EVIDENCE THAT THEY HAD COMMITTED A CRIME.
I saw the video. There is a marked difference between the way a dog acts when it is attacking and the way that dog came out of the car. It was bouncing along with its tail wagging side to side, not "circling to attack".
I also wonder what crime they were to be suspected of/arrested for. An unknown caller reports an odd incident and suddenly this family is Bonnie and Clyde?
This was an enormous screw up by those cops, and now they are scrambling to do damage control. We should be thankful their ineptitude didn't kill a person.
You must not have watched the video. But maybe you couldn't see it from your position on your knees.
The last years of his career were spent as the Chief Juvenile Detective in his department. When he died, a number of the young men whose lives hed touched years before came forward to tell how his timely and sometimes tough-love intervention turned them around.
I know that many officers STILL try to live that creed today. I also know that there are officers out there who, despite the rulings by the Supremes that they have no obligation to specific, individual citizens, would stand between one of us and a bullet and have.
My sister is married to a good guy who was also a good cop.
And I STILL vividly recall a business trip and having a flat tire. I pulled onto the narrow shoulder and was opening the trunk when I spied a Georgia State Troopers car cross the median, hit the flashers and pull in some distance behind me and a bit closer to the road, shielding me and my car from the 70 MPH traffic. SHE got out and asked if I needed any help. I told her I could probably handle it. She said shed keep her unit there until I got done.
THEN she spotted my cane and saw that I was partially disabled. Before I could object, she was in the trunk, had wrestled the spare to the ground and was jacking up the car, all the while asking me to remain safely near the guardrail. About that time, two county deputies stopped and pitched in. The lady trooper cut her hand fooling with the jack and soiled her freshly pressed uniform wrestling the dirty flat back into the trunk. They couldnt have been nicer! I took their names and wrote highly complimentary letters to their superiors all of whom promptly acknowledged them and thanked me for the kind words.
These officers like my uncle grasped the significance of To Protect and Serve.
I also recognize that the cops like Gort in The Day The Earth Stood Still -- are simply the muscle (the enforcement) behind the legislative and statutory law enacted by society as a whole. That is, after all, why its called LAW ENFORCEMENT. And although it could be argued that this society may be morphing into the homonym for whole as you read this, these laws are enacted by our alleged representatives meeting in generally safe, quiet and opulent chambers far from the increasingly mean streets where the cops ply their trade. If the cops have too many intrusive and abusive laws to enforce, check the nearest mirror for a likeness of the responsible party.
And if the cops ARE abusive to the general citizenry, why arent HUNDREDS or THOUSANDS of us RAISING UNHOLY HELL at each and every meeting of the responsible governing body? French political philosopher Joseph D'Maistre declared that "Every people gets the government they deserve."
Have we really become the nation of sheep an author foresaw many years ago? If so, we have little right to object to the shearing. Or the coming slaughter and culling of the flock. And my guess is that the culling will begin with the most troublesome and noisiest sheep. And guess who THAT is?
An old friend is a ranking officer with a large police department. I would rate his love of our freedoms and the Constitution against anyone here at FR. A few years ago, he told me that IF the order to begin some sort of weapons round-up among the general citizenry ever came down from on high, we would quickly know about it from the reports of disturbances and gunfire from the neighborhood cop shop: Fully HALF the officers in his department are Second Amendment guys. He and they would be the first to resist such an order physically if necessary. What should scare us all is the shift in our demographics and the continuing leftist indoctrination by the government schools, making it impossible to know how much longer that ratio and sentiment will hold.
A civilized society must also recognize the need to assure that EVERY officer we put out there be as well paid, trained and supervised as possible. The people doing this work ought to have the best training and equipment we can provide them if only to convey to them our belief that their work and their lives are as worthy as our own if only to keep their morale at the highest possible level. Disgruntled malcontents almost always make lousy cops.
Having said that, we must also recognize that EVERY large barrel contains some bad apples -- and SOME cops are cowboys. Some are simply power driven megalomaniacs who would have dropped on the OTHER side of the law had their lives drifted a degree or two off the course they did take.
I believe this to be especially true of far too many federal law enforcement types who have allowed their egos and hubris to become as bloated as the bureaucratic federal behemoth they serve. Their mandate is no longer to protect and serve the citizens who pay their salaries: It is to crush any meaningful resistance to a growing body of procedures, regulations and policies too frequently enforced under severely tortured interpretations of the underlying legislative enactments (if any) and often put in place by executive fiat. The massively abused SEIZURE statutes laws the author of which now seeks to RESCIND! -- spring to mind.
And one cannot but help to wonder how the clear criminality of the Clintons and their subsequent avoidance of any penalty has played into the problem. There now seems to be a bright line between the easy, highly flexible, slap-on-the-wrist law for the rich and powerful and the rigidly enforced law against even the tiniest victimless crimes committed by those of us further down the food chain. Does anyone in his right mind believe THAT will NOT engender added disrespect for ALL law?
Could those things be a large part of the problem in some of the highly disturbing and DEADLY (on BOTH sides) confrontations we have witnessed over the past decade or so? Gordon Kahl, Ruby Ridge, OK City, Waco, Beck This list WILL lengthen and wed all better pray that WE will be spared.
Roman historian Tacitus warned that one could tell the level of corruption in a society by the NUMBER of its laws. Anyone doubt the level of corruption here?
Am I the only one who thinks were long overdue a serious review of the NUMBERS of laws under which we are now forced to exist and which are increasingly used not to assure our safety or well-being, but to COMMAND AND CONTROL us and KEEP US IN LINE.
Only the most tyrannical and power-crazed members of law enforcement could possibly object to that.
The modern counterparts of my Uncle Bob would not object.
It is THEY, after all, who are most likely to catch that bullet probably fired by someone who has symbolically screamed to himself IM MAD AS HELL AND IM NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANY MORE -- referred to earlier when they sally forth to serve that flimsy warrant or make that bogus arrest.
Ever wonder, with suspects secured and cuffed, why this untrained, undisciplined ass even reached for a gun first?
I've got two sons who are cops, and their first comment after six months on the job was "Most police are very stupid people with little commonsense and a huge power complex."