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."
Yes, it is.
This chain of unfortunate events has enough mistakes to go around:
No, I can't accept that. I have a problem with the felony stop to start with. There was no felony reported, the dispatcher communicated poorly with the officers and the officers did not take the time after pulling the car over to get more information. I would rather sit in my car for half an hour with the police behind me getting needed information, than sit on the side of the road handcuffed. They should have requested better information on the vehicle and the reason this car was wanted and waited.
In a felony stop, the police give clear and concise instructions and you follow them - to the letter. Which was the bigger mistake on the part of the Smoaks in your opinion, Mr. Smoaks closing his door and dropping his hands (several times) or Mrs. Smoaks and her son exiting the passenger side with their hands constantly in the air, leaving the door left open?
In the controlled situation of a felony stop, who is responsible for securing the doors, keeping the dogs seen and known to be in the car, in the car, on a busy highway during a felony stop? The THP officer who swept the car was.
For me there's no way around it, the THP is responsible for Patton getting out of the car and Officer Hall subsequently shooting him.
And to all the JBT wackos on this thread, I'm the one applauding the cops for enforcing Darwinism when they weed you out of the gene pool for stupidity.
Normally, I resent it when taxpayers get the tab for something like this hung around their necks, but these idiots in Cookeville elected the Mayor responsible for these trigger-happy morons, so screw 'em.
This idiot's report can be used like a shovel to bury his own ass.
We convinced ourselves that anything bad that happened to us was someone elses fault and they had to pay. We demanded more of our neighbors tax money to pay for services we chose not to provide ourselves and make sure wealth was fairly (if not evenly) distributed.
Your JBT tunnel vision causes you to not recognize the real cause of what you criticize, and alienates the reasoned thinkers that are trying to fix what 40 years has wrought. Try taking the tin foil off your head long enough to read this and understand:
Although we give lip service to the notion of freedom, we know the government is no longer the servant of the people but, at last has become the people's master. We have stood by like timid sheep while the wolf killed, first the weak, then the strays, then those on the outer edges of the flock, until at last the entire flock belonged to the wolf. We did not care about the weak or about the strays. They were not a part of the flock. We did not care about those on the outer edges. They had chosen to be there. But as the wolf worked its way towards the center of the flock we discovered that we were now on the outer edges. Now we must look the wolf squarely in the eye. That we did not do so when the first of us was ripped and torn and eaten was the first wrong. It was our wrong. (Gerry Spence)