A court recently ruled in favour of police officers who shot two dogs who "just stood there".
The United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit recently ruled in favor of police officers killing citizens’ pets if they do anything but stay seated. Judges Moore and Clay and District Judge Hood heard an appeal from?the plaintiffs Mark and Cheryl Brown,?from?Battle Creek, Michigan. The Browns filed a lawsuit against the Battle Creek?Police Department, the City of Battle Creek, and officers Jeffrey Case, Christof Klein, and Damon Young following an incident which resulted in the death of their dogs due to the actions of the officers. On April 17, 2013, the police officers attempted to obtain a warrant to search the Browns’ home after a police informant reported another man, called Vincent Jones, for distributing?heroin, cocaine, and marijuana from the residence. Jones was then apprehended before the police arrived at the scene, according to?reports.
Mark Brown had gone to his home during his lunch break to let out his two pit bulls, after which he locked the door and headed back to work. As he was on his way, the police arrived and detained him, although he was not a suspect in the police search. Despite telling the police officers that he had a key so they didn’t need to destroy the front door in order to get into the house, they went ahead and destroyed it anyway. Officer Klein then?claimed?that the larger dog was barking and even “lunged” at him, despite the Browns disputing the police claims, and even stating that the smaller of the two dogs had “never barked a day in her life”. Officer Klein later admitted that the pet “had only moved a few inches”.
Although there was no attack by the dog, Klein fired a round at him, which resulted in both dogs running away from the officers in fear and seeking solace in the basement. The two dogs were then shot and killed in the basement by the officers, who claimed that they felt that they could not properly clear the room?and therefore could not effectively execute the search warrant in the house. They?explained?that they “did not feel [the officers] could safely clear the basement with those dogs down there.? The officers also then stated that the??basement was loaded. You?ve gotta look under beds, you?ve gotta do everything, and [the dogs] basically prevented us from doing that, and they were protecting that basement.? However, Klein testified that?the smaller pit bull was ?just standing there? when it was shot and killed.
Despite these actions, the court ruled in favour of the?officers, the police department, and the other defendants, after all agreeing with the lower court ruling that the police officers were in fact covered under the??doctrine of qualified immunity?, which meant that they were not liable for?compensating the plaintiffs in the case. This means that the precedent has now been set, meaning that police officers can legally kill a citizen’s dog if it does anything but remain standing still and quiet.
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