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 served as an LEO until 95 when I was hit by a doper ambush in South Florida.
Just curious, how many years active/reserve?
If that's true, and I have no reason to doubt that it is, you need to let these folks know ...
It has its teeth. I have a gun. It loses.
I have no patience for aggressive dogs that act like they want even a little piece of me.
You're a small man Kevin, not only for having that mindset but for posting it here on freerepublic for everyone to see. I really hope and pray that someone as small minded as yourself isn't out there in public as an armed police officer.
This was a very unfortunate incident, and it is easy to condemn the cop in hindsight. But there was simply no moral fault on the part of the police officers; they were responding as imperfect human beings might be expected to respond to a quickly-unfolding situation filled with unknowns. The death of this dog was no more the moral fault of the police officer than it would be the fault of, say, a driver who runs over a dog rather than swerving, losing of control, and placing his own physical safety at risk. If the choice is between injury to a human or the death of a dog, the human wins--except in PETA world.
Street experience teaches cops to be proactive--not to wait until they have absorbed the first surprise.
Of course the family did nothing wrong, either. And their dog was simply acting as a dog acts. No moral fault or any fault there. Dogs are protective--not particularly discerning. These characteristics make dogs valuable to armed criminals for the same reason they are valuable to a law-abiding families. That's too bad.
The family will understandably be angry and enraged but the cop has no reason to accept the rage and take it personally. He ought to express his sympathy and as a kind gesture offer to get them a new dog, but solely as a gesture of sorrow and kindness--not as an admission of fault.
This kind of incident produces gallons of anger and resentment but offers no legitimate bucket to place them in.
Somebody get me a gun.
In extreme cases they are so proud of their fetish that they brag about it in public.
Wrong agency. LEO Eric Hall works for the Tennessee Highway Patrol, no the Cookeville Police Department!
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.
No problem here pal. I'll just call you in to 911 next time you're on the streets with your family on vacation. I'll just make up something real good. Then we'll see what happens to you and your family. How's that sound?
Fine looking critters on your home page. The two dogs on your left look a lot like my two lab/golden mixes.
To me that shows they knew about the dogs and should have closed the door, but it also shows they were concerned about the dogs as a threat.
God help us when we face terrorists--not just the Griswolds.
Officer Lying Dogkiller needs to go to Johnson Prison.
So when I am detained at a roadblock where there is a police dog, can I shoot the police dog as it approaches me or my car?
Conor, the High King of Ireland, set out one day with his guard of the Red Branch to visit Cullen, the smith who fashioned their weapons. When all were inside his walls, Cullen closed the gate and turned out his watchdog, a very hungry wolfhound. Setanta, the king's foster son, decided to join them when he finished his hurling game. Approaching Cullen's gate, the dog growled and made to lunge at the boy. To save himself, Setanta whacked a ball down the dog's throat with his hurling stick. Cullen was distraught over the loss of his animal so Setanta offered to secure a replacement. He said to the smith, "Until the young dog is ready to take the old dog's place, I'll be your hound." The local Druid, personal high priest to the king, was very impressed by Setanta's acceptance of responsibility. He gave the boy a high honor by naming him, Hound of Cullen. Cullen's Hound...Cuchullain Ulster Red Branch Cycle lore.
There is another FReeper (politico) that gave me this link to the Putnam Pit which details some of the problems in the Cookeville Police Department.
It is amazing the lack of the abilityh to analyze being exhibited here... the time frame is SECONDS not MINUTES... the events occurred in less than 4 minutes from the time the Smoaks car pulls over and the death of the dog. Officer Hall reacted in much less time... the dog got out and about 5-6 seconds later is shot.
He knows...check 391.
If the cop had ever been a paperboy, back when there were "paper boys," then the moron would have known the difference between a real threat and a perceived threat... When to kill and when not to kill.
Only a former paperboy will understand this.
Thanks for notifying me of my error. Although I have already been notified several times, I deserve every bit of flaming I get for making such a glaring error.
Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.