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."
"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!"
Let me repeat that for you, just so you don't goof up again:
Dan said, "until the dog attacked the human."
If you want to play "moderator," get your facts straight first, and then act like a smart guy.
n'Kay? Thanks, Dirt.
BTW, I have also read Point of Impact about ten times, and I think you might enjoy "Enemies Foreign And Domestic" just as much. There is even an episode of preemptive dog killing.
And I'm saying chill out on the personal attacks. In my opinion the dog was not attacking - however, the video is hardly conclusive one way or the other, given you can hardly see the dog. But what I see here is a bunch of hot-air personal attack posts instead of anything resembling a sane analysis of the tacticial situation that resulting in the dog's death.
I think the issue may also lie with the training and tactics used by the police force, and the cop might have been following departmental procedure - in which case the training needs a major overhaul. We'll see what happens as a result of the investigation. Meanwhile, I think a post saying the cop should take a dirt nap is over the top by any standard and out of line on this forum.
I think that is the point that should be looked into here. If the cop was following the department tactical guidelines regarding dogs, then the idiot who drew them up should be roasted, not the cop in question.
I should point out that there is also the converse set of freepers. Which is right, depends upon the facts of the case. It's a good thing that the dashboard camera didn't "inexplicably suffer a failure and lost its recording" in this incident.
It's rather frightening to consider the implications of the widespread suspicion and mistrust of the police. It's not just inner-city folks, it's not just dopeheads, it's way beyond that now...
If I couldn't convince a jury that I thought I was being attacked, probably a year in jail. Certainly a lot less than the penalty for murder.
I think it will take both - de-militarizing police tactics and weeding out incompetents. Bad tactics can turn a good cop into a bad one, but all the good tactics in the world won't accomplish squat with a bad cop...
The penalty would be you'd get a bullet in-between your eyes. The police report will read "Suspect reached for gun, at which point I was forced to fire in self-defense."
That's what I mean. The cops tactical training has them so damned juiced that they overreact. The odds are good that the guy who shot the dog is a trigger-happy incompentent. But what if he wasn't, and was simply following the departmental tactical guidelines? The department cheerfully dumps the guy as a scapegoat, and we'll see the same crap again next year. It is imperative that police tactics be demilitarized, and this is a good place to start that. But calling for the cop's head before we get more facts is counterproductive.
I don't think they'll be able to pull that off here. Shooting the family pooch resonates with mainstream America. The goal here should be to use this matter as a springboard to tone down the hardass level of current law enforcement - because if we simply go after the cop, the system can ditch him as a scapegoat and escape scrutiny.