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."
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."
Dan, "Let your 'yes' be yes, and your 'no' be no." "Thou shalt not bear false witness."
The dog didn't attack a human. For you to state that he did is a lie. You should not lie, as God's Holy Word tells you not to.
Either do not lie, or change your login from that deceptive acronym for "biblical Christian." n'Kay?
' Yeah, and the smirking dog-killer seems to contradict your conclusion. There was MALICE aforethought behind this shooting. Why didn't the stupid idiots question the family before terrorizing them? What grounds were there for this type of treatment? NONE WHATSOEVER. The idiot cops took the word of some passerby who concluded there must have been a robbery, but why on earth would a robber throw money out the window? These cops were at the very least STUPID, and at MOST evil. The dog-killer certainly was not sorry for his deed as his smirk will attest! That jerk should be fired just for his attitude.
Go back and read the whole article. There was no reason for the dog to escape from the car. And why was the family being arrested, anyway?
I resent that on behalf of Barney Fife. He only had one bullet, and he wasn't allowed to carry it.
The cops were clearly in the wrong. Why didn't they close the door? They had seen the dogs for themselves, they'd been asked twice. Any dog owner knows that a dog in a car, wants to get out of the car. (A dog OUT of a car, wants to get IN.)
Out of four guys, not one has a dog?
And what is going on at Police Academy, that they don't teach cops the difference between a dog WAGGING ITS TAIL and a dog attacking?
Irrelevant, but full disclosure:
I lived in Cookeville a few years as a child (Dad taught at Tech) & returned to visit my grandparents frequently until 1970.
One thread discussing marijuana legalization generates > 1000 comments.
Dozens of threads discussing police abuse of power generate < 150 comments.
aw, come on. a little jaunt to far eastern tennessee won't hurt, especially if mr happy trigger is roadside with shopping cart and "will behave for food" sign. we're working on it....
The big deal is the dog wasn't attacking. Your attitude that an innocent family pet can be "popped" for nothing, and is no "big deal" if it *is* a pitbull dog, is sick.
Cops shouldn't shoot innocent dogs, even if it is a "pitbull." Your attitude seems to imply as long as the cops are just guilty of shooting innocent dogs that "appear" to be a pitbull, everything is peachy. Rationality is apparently dead, where you live.
BS and you know it. Talk is cheap, and I don't doubt that the words were said, but I have yet to hear of any cop anywhere in the USA failing to enforce gun laws. When NYC unconstitutionally confiscated citizens' semi-autos, no cop refused to do it. Did you not hear that all of the tips that were phones in to the Montgomery County PD during the sniper episode will now be used for gun confiscation? The cops in COnnecticut who found some guys gun collection propmtly confiscated it and arrested him - just for having what they thought were too many guns.
...Only the most tyrannical and power-crazed members of law enforcement could possibly object to that....
Well that's an awful large fraction of them and getting larger every day.
It is THEY, after all, who are most likely to catch that bullet
This is true, if things continue as they are with LEOs literally getting away with murder, then the mine in the favorite radar spot, the bullets in the ambush, etc. aren't going to ask whether the cop is really a good cop or one of the many SD einsatztroopers that make up US law enforcement today.
The won't work. It isn't the cops or the bureaucrats who will pay. It is the taxpayers. Get a $30,000,000 judgement, then don't take it out of the hides of the a$$hole thugs who did this - just stick it to the taxpayers.
Happened rat cheer in GA about 10 years ago. There was a big "drug raid" several days before election day with about 60 LEOs against a businessman who was running for county comissioner. Done on the information of "anonomyous informants" Just his incumbent opposition doing its thing with the full cooperation of the Gwinnett County police force. Well he lost the election and took the whole lot to court and got a huge judgement against them. Of course they appealed, but they lost that too. Not one penny came fom any of the law enforcement goons who carried out the raids. Every cent (about $30,000,000 as I remember) came from the taxpayers' pockets. The count spoksperson said that the money didn't come from tax revenues, but had been set aside earlier. This complete lie was unchallenged by the local liberal media, and most of my moronic fellow Georgians because they were too dishonest (in the case of the media) or too dumb (my fellowcitizens) to realize that a government has no income other than what it forcibly seizes from its citizens.
weiner, wanker, parts is parts???
Gee, Bill...I sure wish I had your clairvoyance! Why think of all the Lotto winning numbers I could "figure out in 5 seconds".
Have you ever considered going to work for Miss Cleo? There is money to be made in the Fortune Telling Biz.
Not only that, but there was a clear bounce in its step, which any dog owner will recognize as a sign of a friendly, non-aggressive attitude.
Several hundred. Dogs like me.
I have yet to feel the need to blow one's head off.
Well that Barney of a cop sure showed that dog that it is illegal to bounce in TN!
I've noticed the same thing myself.I am sometimes around LEOs in the course of my work. Most of the older cops (40+) are generally helpful and sincere. It's the young roid monsters with something to prove that are the problem.
No one know if he was smiling because they wear ski masks when they do this stuff.
Woah, when did this happen?
About 4 years ago in NC I think. Raided the house of a gun show promoter and stomped the kitten flat. No consequences (of course).
FYI, that cop mentioned in the gun control context is here in Georgia.
And I don't appreciate your calling me a liar.
If you can see an "attack" in the video, then you're just as clueless, reckless, and irresponsible as the so-called "police officer", and you shouldn't be in a position of authority either.
The dog VERY CLEARLY was not attacking. The officer is either a complete idiot, or dangerously trigger-happy. Either way, he has amply demonstrated his uniftness for duty. How long before he similarly grossly misreads the actions/attitude of a non-agressive *human* and shoots *them*?
He needs to be off the force immediately. And I'm likewise not at all impressed with *your* judgement.
I'm sure you've got chapter and verse to justify this, too, Mr. W. Sepulchre.
Just where did I call you a liar?