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Cop took just 3 seconds to shoot dog
WorldNetDaily.com ^ | Thursday, January 9, 2003

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."


TOPICS: Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: 110mphlieon911; afraidoflittledog; algoretroopers; banglist; dog; doggieping; donutwatch; gestapovolunteers; jackbootedthugs; leo; liberalslovethis; officerdepends; pigs; poorwittlepowiceman; rottennogoodsobs; screamslikeagirl; shootfirstandlast; triggerhappy; waggingtailshooter
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To: Nuke'm Glowing
The problem is not the event, it's the trend

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.

251 posted on 01/09/2003 12:33:57 PM PST by philomath
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To: eno_
If I saw Lon Horiouchi on the street, I would follow him and post his whereabouts. The very least I could do.

One would probably have to stand in line to have their "piece" with/of Herr Horuchi

252 posted on 01/09/2003 12:35:50 PM PST by clamper1797
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To: Nuke'm Glowing; Dimensio
Regarding Ruby Ridge. Off topic, I suppose, but I'd like to hear your thoughts.

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?

Thanks!

253 posted on 01/09/2003 12:51:47 PM PST by Wordsmith
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To: TerribleThunderLizard
Boxers are friendly dogs, and bulldogs used to be mean but are now quite friendly (and lazy!)
254 posted on 01/09/2003 12:56:42 PM PST by ambrose
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To: Gargantua
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.

Agreed.

255 posted on 01/09/2003 12:57:22 PM PST by ambrose
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To: from occupied ga
>>I have yet to see any outrage by LEOs posted here that some freepers won't defend. From the shotgun slaying of a 12 year old, to Waco to Ruby Ridge I have yet to see anything where some freepers didn't
jump to the defence of LE<<

Sickening, isn't it? Disgusting moral vacancy.
256 posted on 01/09/2003 1:04:17 PM PST by SerpentDove
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To: dcwusmc
"...12ga vasectomy..." bump. ;^)

Ouch!
257 posted on 01/09/2003 1:30:50 PM PST by headsonpikes
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To: TaZ
Love to. Won't fit, though...
258 posted on 01/09/2003 1:35:32 PM PST by dcwusmc ("The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself.")
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To: BibChr
You know, as long as we're just chatting here, I've often noticed that people who don't do illegal and/or immoral things (like, I don't know... drugs?) seem to be generally less paranoid about police. Have you noticed the same?

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?

259 posted on 01/09/2003 1:41:22 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Wordsmith
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?

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.

260 posted on 01/09/2003 1:42:08 PM PST by eno_
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To: Wordsmith
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?

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.

261 posted on 01/09/2003 1:42:16 PM PST by eno_
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To: Wordsmith
>>- 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.<<

Are you familiar with the Nuremburg trials? "I wass just following orderrsss" is no defense.
262 posted on 01/09/2003 1:43:48 PM PST by SerpentDove
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To: Tijeras_Slim; Rifleman
...hey, I've only read Point of Impact about 15 times...:)

"Mr Vincent, that bullet is not to be inserted in-" :)

263 posted on 01/09/2003 1:46:35 PM PST by Byron_the_Aussie
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To: SerpentDove; eno_
Thanks! I agree, "just following orders" is not necessarily a valid excuse. But, from Whitcomb's account at least, the snipers weren't given enough information to make that call. They were told, in essence, "officer down attempting to serve a legimate warrant, suspects armed and dangerous". The decision to shoot first, while near the extreme end of the list of valid responses, didn't necessarily seem to Horiuchi (he was the shooter, correct?) to be entirely off the reservation based on the limited information the HRT response team was given. This is why I'd like to read up on it some more. I wasn't following the news back in '94, and have only sketchy knowledge of the incident to go with my reading of Cold Zero.
264 posted on 01/09/2003 1:51:25 PM PST by Wordsmith
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To: dirtboy
You, I'll answer.

If the cops had a description of a gigantic bald guy with a red beard as a dangerous felon on the loose, and they stopped me at gunpoint, questioned me, discovered their mistake, and released me, I'd have a story to tell. And no complaints.

If I had a dog that attacked one of them "growling" and so forth, and he shot it, I'd also have no complaints.

You're my FRiend; you asked, I answered.

So if this unleashes a fresh flood of clueless, don't-ask-me-to-take-off-the-tinfoil-and-think abuse on me, you answer it. I'll also forward you the FRemail abuse.

Dan
(c;

265 posted on 01/09/2003 1:51:27 PM PST by BibChr
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To: JohnHuang2
The officer should be arrested and charged with murder.

Even in the scenerio he is trying to lie and pass off as being the case, he could have shot him in the tail or something, not the head.

He is guilty of getting his jollies by offing a dog. He should be set to prison for the sick bastard he is.
266 posted on 01/09/2003 1:55:50 PM PST by rwfromkansas (www.fairtax.org: It is time for a FAIRTAX!)
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To: 70times7; Travis McGee
..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....

Exactly.

Just by the way I don't think the shooting was an accident. My guess is that shooting arrestees' dogs when they are running loose at the scene is SOP for this outfit. What better way to intimidate the owner into immediate submission? I find it very pertinent that the boss cop is so arrogant as to expect us to disbelieve the evidence of our own eyes. He has the air of someone who's an expert in stonewalling with lies. What we should really be thinking about after viewing this video is the number of BATF raids on gun dealers homes, where someone in the family has been shot, and the agency head has then said 'we were only defending ourselves.' Hopefully all gun dealers and others under direct threat from police state agencies have installed those cheap mini cameras in their homes, thereby giving a chance to record cop brutality, in the same way it has been recorded with this dog shooting.

267 posted on 01/09/2003 1:56:26 PM PST by Byron_the_Aussie
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To: patriciaruth
He shot the dog in the head and reacted wrongly. He could hvae shot the dog in a spot that would not have resulted in certain death. He deliberately killed the dog and should be held accountable in a court of law for the crime of murder.
268 posted on 01/09/2003 1:58:00 PM PST by rwfromkansas (www.fairtax.org: It is time for a FAIRTAX!)
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To: BibChr
If I had a dog that attacked one of them "growling" and so forth, and he shot it, I'd also have no complaints.

I think there are two issues on this level. First of all, the cops could have heeded the Smoaks, taken a second and simply closed the car door, and nothing would have gone awry and this story would never have happened. And second, I think the cop who shot the dog probably overreacted. What should come from this is better training of police to quit being full-blown hardasses in every instance, and think a bit more - with all three people in the car handcuffed, and the number of cops on the scene, they could have done a much better job here.

269 posted on 01/09/2003 1:58:55 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: BibChr
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?

270 posted on 01/09/2003 2:01:28 PM PST by Gargantua
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To: dirtboy
Not inconceivable.

But as I see the video (102), the dog looks to me (as I said) to be pretty much in the cop's lap when he shoots. Othrwise, check #140, if you haven't already.

Dan

271 posted on 01/09/2003 2:02:54 PM PST by BibChr
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To: headsonpikes
I winced myself.... and I wrote it... but it would be fitting, for sure!
272 posted on 01/09/2003 2:04:06 PM PST by dcwusmc ("The most dangerous man, to any government, is the man who is able to think things out for himself.")
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To: dirtboy
For you.
273 posted on 01/09/2003 2:04:30 PM PST by BibChr
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To: BibChr
But as I see the video (102), the dog looks to me (as I said) to be pretty much in the cop's lap when he shoots. Othrwise, check #140, if you haven't already.

I checked the video. It was rather inconclusive - however, my impression is that the dog was not behaving in an agressive manner. I own a very protective malamute/shepherd mix, and if she thought I or my wife were being threatened, she would not amble out of the car, she would be going full-speed in a line for the person's throat. That dog seemed to be meandering around - not the mark of a dog wanting to attack someone.

274 posted on 01/09/2003 2:10:41 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Gargantua
Chill out. Dan said "if", and it's his opinion that the dog was threatening. I disagree - and the video is hardly conclusive. Best to let the investigators sort this one out.
275 posted on 01/09/2003 2:12:02 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Nuke'm Glowing
"The problem is not the event, it's the trend"

This video is of the notorious Sheriff of Davidson County NC back in 96:

Right click and save: http://libertyteeth.com/Hegge.mpg

Not for the bandwidth impaired!

This county has had its share of problems and is also aprt of the story with the couple who lost their dog.
276 posted on 01/09/2003 2:13:02 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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Comment #277 Removed by Moderator

To: rwfromkansas
He deliberately killed the dog and should be held accountable in a court of law for the crime of murder.

I'm a dog-lover and a (small-l) libertarian, but don't you think you're the one overreacting a bit here? Last time I checked, the crime of murder required a human victim.

278 posted on 01/09/2003 2:19:41 PM PST by Lurking Libertarian
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To: BibChr
But as I see the video (102), the dog looks to me (as I said) to be pretty much in the cop's lap when he shoots.

Whoop-de-freaking-doo.

I've had countless dogs "pretty much in my lap". That's what friendly dogs do. Not once was I pansy-ass enough to think that having a dog approach me was a threat to my life which necessitated blowing the dog's head off "just in case".

There's absolutely no justification for your claim that the dog "attacked" the officer, and if you think mere proximity proves an "attack", you're as clueless as the loose-cannon cop -- and should be kept equally far from lethal weapons and positions of authority.

Jobs on the police department should be limited to those people who are bright enough to be able to tell the difference between a dog "attack" and an approaching dog -- and who would be able to deal even with an attacking dog in a more sane manner (the pepper spray that all officers carry works wonders on dogs).

Instead, the officer was clearly acting on a "woo baby, I get to kill somethin'!" level. Give him twenty years flipping hamburgers to think it over, where he can't hurt anybody if the makes another stupid judgement call.

279 posted on 01/09/2003 2:21:07 PM PST by Dan Day
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To: ambrose
I didn't realize that there was now capital punishment for killing a dog. You and several others on this thread need to chill a bit here. IMO this was a mistake by the cop, and probably in training and tactics as much as an individual mistake. No human life was lost here, and I imagine the Smoaks will get fair compensation for what they have been through. But all this over-the-top commentary isn't helping - instead, call for police departments to curtail the hardass attitude they instill in their cops.
280 posted on 01/09/2003 2:21:08 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Lurking Libertarian
"Last time I checked, the crime of murder required a human victim."

What would be the penalty if you shot a police dog?
281 posted on 01/09/2003 2:21:55 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: dirtboy
"You and several others on this thread need to chill a bit here."

I think that a situation like this just adds to the frustration level with government and it boils over and people vent.

We read so many stories everyday of abuse, fraud, stupidity and arrogance. At a certain point people are gonna snap.

I can tell you this, that cop is cowardly loser and should no longer be on the force. That is the type of guy who has the potential to "accidentally" shoot a person.
282 posted on 01/09/2003 2:26:59 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: dirtboy
No, you chill out. From Dan's post # 140:

"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.

283 posted on 01/09/2003 2:27:27 PM PST by Gargantua
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To: Byron_the_Aussie
Killing dogs has become SOP for too many cops, beginning with the BATF. If a dog is within 50 feet it "could" present a threat, so shoot it preemptively seems to be the law of the land.

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.

284 posted on 01/09/2003 2:28:19 PM PST by Travis McGee
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To: Gargantua
Dan said, "until the dog attacked the human."

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.

285 posted on 01/09/2003 2:30:54 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
Good luck, talking moderation and reasonableness to a lynch mob. Check out 279; that guy knows EVERYTHING.

Dan
286 posted on 01/09/2003 2:31:34 PM PST by BibChr
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To: Gargantua
What would happen to us pee-ons if we shot a police dog in self defense?
287 posted on 01/09/2003 2:31:52 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Stew Padasso
I can tell you this, that cop is cowardly loser and should no longer be on the force. That is the type of guy who has the potential to "accidentally" shoot a person.

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.

288 posted on 01/09/2003 2:33:21 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: Travis McGee
Killing dogs has become SOP for too many cops, beginning with the BATF. If a dog is within 50 feet it "could" present a threat, so shoot it preemptively seems to be the law of the land.

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.

289 posted on 01/09/2003 2:34:45 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: from occupied ga
There is a certain set of freepers who feel that no actions by law enforcement can ever be wrong. No matter what they always make excuses for law enforcement.

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...

290 posted on 01/09/2003 2:39:00 PM PST by Chemist_Geek (Better Living Through Chemistry!)
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To: patriciaruth
If it were my dog, I'd hunt the sob down who did it.

L

291 posted on 01/09/2003 2:39:38 PM PST by Lurker
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To: dirtboy
I'll tell you what, I know a dude who works within the Sheriff's office and he is definitely not fit for the job.

Reviewing tactics and all that will do nothing, it is a top to bottom cultural problem, and not in just law enforcement.

A good example - look where Bob Ricks from Waco fame ended up:
http://www.youroklahoma.com/homelandsecurity/
292 posted on 01/09/2003 2:40:03 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Stew Padasso
What would be the penalty if you shot a police dog?

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.

293 posted on 01/09/2003 2:40:37 PM PST by Lurking Libertarian
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To: Stew Padasso
I'll tell you what, I know a dude who works within the Sheriff's office and he is definitely not fit for the job. Reviewing tactics and all that will do nothing, it is a top to bottom cultural problem, and not in just law enforcement.

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...

294 posted on 01/09/2003 2:42:10 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: dirtboy
Great.

They will sort it out the same way they did when the INNOCENT kid was shot in the face for reaching for his (REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT) seat belt after he was ordered out of the car.

295 posted on 01/09/2003 2:43:41 PM PST by Politicalmom
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To: Stew Padasso
What would be the penalty if you shot a police dog?

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."

296 posted on 01/09/2003 2:46:52 PM PST by ambrose
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To: dirtboy
Anyone who challenges the status quo will be attacked, you know that. Challenging law enforcement will only be met with the usual smears of paranoid, black helicopter etc. etc.
297 posted on 01/09/2003 2:47:00 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Politicalmom
They will sort it out the same way they did when the INNOCENT kid was shot in the face for reaching for his (REQUIRED BY THE GOVERNMENT) seat belt after he was ordered out of the car.

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.

298 posted on 01/09/2003 2:47:19 PM PST by dirtboy
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To: ambrose
I agree. Any act of self defense against police whether it is canine or moron will only get you shot.
299 posted on 01/09/2003 2:48:40 PM PST by Stew Padasso
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To: Stew Padasso
Anyone who challenges the status quo will be attacked, you know that. Challenging law enforcement will only be met with the usual smears of paranoid, black helicopter etc. etc.

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.

300 posted on 01/09/2003 2:49:15 PM PST by dirtboy
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