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."
Possible. But do you think the officer had more than one round in his pump action shotgun? Do you suppose a blast from a shotgun fired in close proximity as a warning shot would stop the pooch in his tracks? A shotgun is pretty damn loud and unless the dog is trained around them, it will cower at the sound.
Hellfire, even the most vile, evil, child raping, murderer fleeing from police gets a warning shot. And I consider this dog to be a higher form of life than that.
The fact is that this cop is a lowlife and made a snap decision to fire before assessing the situation rationally. Take his guns away and put him behind a desk. His next shooting may involve a kid with a candy bar that he supposes to be a weapon.
Shame they didn't use a decent encoder for this.
As more and more of these incidents happen, the likelyhood of what you said happening becomes more and more a possiblity. If I was to sit on a jury to judge a person who killed a cop for "accidently" killing a family member ... I would NEVER vote to convict.
I suspect the later
Unfortunately, Weaver was villified and demonized so effectively by the media, that the general public believes that he and his family got what they deserved.
maybe that's why people are speaking out: they are seeing a trend toward erosion of the most basic freedoms.
my dad (ww 2 vet) told me 30 years ago that he could see as the years progressed freedoms for he had fought being gradually taken through a labyrinth of oppressive laws and regulations. i didn't appreciate this well until i realized how much has been lost in my adult lifetime.
it was an outrage at ruby ridge and it's an outrage here. just because it's only a dog life this time, don't write off those who are coming around to see things more clearly; welcome them to the fold.
One would probably have to stand in line to have their "piece" with/of Herr Horuchi
Recently read a book called "Cold Zero", by Christopher Whitcomb. Whitcomb was a sniper with the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team. He was part of the sniper team deployed at Ruby Ridge, although at the time Mrs. Weaver was shot he was apparently a few hundred yards away from the sniper who pulled the trigger. His description of the event, as well as its lead up and aftermath, is fascinating and I highly recommend it.
Basically, his take on it is that the sniper teams were given very unusual orders - basically to shoot first. Don't have the book in front of me, but he is very careful to detail the exact wording of their orders, and how this wording deviated from the standard for this kind of situation.
Anyway, the orders basically said shoot adults who seem to be moving in any kind of suspicious manner. When the snipers deployed, after several days without sleep and in a cold rain, and the Weavers left the cabin, with the forces that had already set in motion it seems that the sniper that actually pulled the trigger would have been hard-pressed to choose other than he did. Another "regretable mistake."
So basically, I have 3 questions:
- If you're familiar with Whitcomb's story of the events, what is your take on them?
- If Whitcomb's story is accurate, why is the sniper who pulled the trigger considered the one at fault rather than those who designed the HRT response and gave the orders? Seems that more than anything this was a massive failure, if not deliberate crime, on the part of leadership.
- What sources, if any, would you recommend for a rational, honest analysis of what happened at Ruby Ridge?
You might ask the law-abiding Smoak family if they still feel as you do, Dan. Between this and the cops busting people in a bar in Virginia, it shows how cops often feel invicible and above the law nowadays. What would happen if YOU were pulled over by police who mistook you for a criminal?
Two part answer: a) Obviously the responsibility goes all the way up the chain of command. b) The journey up that chain begins with Lon Horiouchi: Horiouchi would have to say "I may have been given illegal orders" and then it would be time to look at who gave the orders.