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."
Have you seen the picture of this family? I mean they appear as a normal family. LOL! I mean a very normal looking family.
In my opinion, these LEOs totally over reacted. The suspects were already down, if you will. Their small dog was not enough of a threat to shake club at for cripes sakes.
Yes there was moral and professional fault on the part of the officers.
First, they made a felony stop on the assumptions of one lady who thought a crime may have been committed, not one the report of an actual crime.
Second, they were notified at 2:18 that there were dogs in the car and were requested to shut the door so they couldn't get out. 40 minutes later, at 3:08, the dog comes out of the car and is shot.
What if the dog had been viscious? Shouldn't the officers have inquired into securing the dog immediately upon becoming aware it was in the car with the door open?
The bottom line is these officers did not maintain control over the situation, as is their job.
So, the conservatives that don't vote are at fault?
Those of us here do voice our opinions and decide to fight against this.
Where? Where do you voice your opinion? Here on FR? Where else?
Unfortunately, our voice has been diminshed much like the middle class of 1937 in another nation.
How? How has our voice been diminished?
I need you to explain it to me. I've got more friends who are cops in and out of the military than I've got fingers and toes, and none are JBTs.
I've never had a problem I couldn't handle with any cop, but then at my size and (obviously) military, maybe I don't get the JBT treatment. I want to know where the visceral reaction that causes FReepers to call other FReepers bootlickers, and worse, comes from. I want to know where these macho self-righteous "patriots" get their venom.
Oh yea, there's a bucket alright. Ever heard of cruelty animals? It's a crime...and with conviction can result in time. The kind of time this trigger happen mentally challenged bonehead should do...besides being fired as a disgrace to the profession and then forever forbidden to possess any kind of weapon so long as he shall live.
Try 40 seconds, even better, try watching the video!
At 17:20:10 on the tape, a THP officer moves up to the driver's side of the "suspect" vehicle and shines his flashlight into the car. At the same time, Mr. Smoaks tells the officers that he has dogs in the car. At this point, the THP officer should have seen the dogs as well. It was his duty at that time to recognize the danger these dogs posed to highway traffic and the safety of the officers and "suspects" - and contain the dogs. Failure to do so led to Patton, coming out of the car. This was NOT following proper procedure and should be shown in a civil suit as negligence.
At 17:20:30 Mr. Smoaks clearly says he has dogs in the car and doesn't want them jumping out. At this time the officer who had approached the vehicle (I'd like to know which THP officer this was - I'm betting Lt. Jerry Andrews) was shining his flashlight down on Mr. Smoaks hands as a second THP officer was cuffing him and the third THP officer had cuffed Mrs. Smoaks and was now cuffing their son. There is no reason this officer could not, and should not, have secured the dogs in the car.
Patton comes out of the car soon after Mr. Smoaks second warning, 17:20:35, perhaps 15 seconds after the THP officer should have identified the dogs and secured them. It was this negligence and improper procedure that led to Patton being shot.
Better to remain silent and let them think you a fool than to speak up and remove all doubt.
1) The orbiting mind control satellites have inserted cop hating into the brains of otherwise normal conservative Republican white males most of which have never even had a misdemeanor arrest? Or...
2) Something is deeply wrong with law enforcement.
Sometimes, when everyone hates you, it might be your fault.
Like the Jews in Germany earlier this century and in Isreal since then today?
In the wilds of uncivilized America folks with a govt badge can kill anything that moves so long as they can shortly after the fact recall and recite the words: "I felt threatened."
Aw, don't be so hard on yourself.
How likely is it that a woman would lieand call the police to claim a car doing the speed limit was traveling 110mph, vs. how likely she was telling the truth about the car speeding? Her other claim that money was coming from the car was validated by the driver's admission that he left his wallet on top of the car. So it is hardly foolish to believe her when she stated that the car was speeding.
Sorry if inconvenient factors get in the way of pious bitching and damning. Like most tragic incidents, the blame is not as clearcut as zealots would like to believe.