As an update to my earlier post, “Denver Cop Kills Dog – ‘Threatened by a Yellow Lab’ – Give me an effing break!” it is heartening to see that the owners of the dog, Rocky, have given notice to the City and County of Denver of their intent to sue, asking for $250,000 in punitive damages.
And, why is it heartening? Simple answer: It is the job of a Denver cop to serve and protect citizens and their families and their property from the incursion of those dregs of society who would, and do, threaten our homes and families, our businesses, our vehicles with their particular sociopathic behavior which, inevitably, leads to broken hearts, and broken confidence in the rule of law. There is nothing anywhere, that I know of, that precludes the characterization of a particular cop as a “dreg,” a “sociopath.” And, AND, when it comes to serving and protecting our families, there is no relevant argument that excludes our critters, our four-legged “children” from that encompassing word “family.”
So, the “heartening” thing about this intent to sue the City, is that Rocky’s family is acknowledging, by it’s action, an affirmation that (as I noted in the above linked prior post): “You shoot a three-year-old yellow Lab to death who is running away from you, but you shoot anyway, because you know you can get away with it by simply reporting you felt ‘threatened,’ is a cowardly act by someone who has lost their humanity. Period. You, mister Officer-whoever you are-should be ashamed of yourself, should turn in your badge. Next time it might be my dog, or, hell even my next door neighbor who you, mister Officer–fuckin’ cowboy that you are–would surely feel justified in murdering because, um, you felt ‘threatened.’”
“…there is that acknowledgment that there are more than a few beefed-up, hard-as-nails (or scared shitless, masquerading as hard-ass), trigger-happy half-wits who never, ever should have been given the blue and the badge and the gun. I’m thinking there’s more than a few of these guys and gals puffing up their chests and gritting their teeth who never, ever give a second thought to preserving and protecting their own humanity, much less that of whom they are charged to serve and protect. These are dangerous people.”
My friend, Dave Felice, was kind enough–some time ago–to provide me with information that Richard Rosenthal, Director of the Office of the Independent Monitor, said he expected to get the report on the Golden Labrador shooting ‘any day now’ (this was in November, 2008), from the Use of Force committee (an internal entity of the Denver Police Department). He said investigators had learned that Golden Labs ‘bite people more frequently than other breeds.’
Okay. Firstly, Mister Rosenthal, let me suggest, just posit the suspicion that your investigators were out to search far and wide for some data to support–as justified–the shameful killing of Rocky. Regardless of whether they believed or didn’t believe the offending cop’s story, I would bet a latte that your investigators were hard at work developing a plausible justification for that cop’s action.
I don’t know, Mister Rosenthal, where your investigators gleaned the “stats” that Labs ‘bite people more frequently than other breeds.’ But, see, here’s the thing about “dog bite” stats: They’re not reliable. And, in fact, your conclusion about the frequency of bites from Labradors is just not accurate. What about Rotties, Pit Bulls, German Shepherds, Dobermans, Chows? Indeed, what about four-pound Pomeranians? Given the right, or wrong circumstances, any dog will bite. And, most often it isn’t the dog’s fault.
Statistics on dog bites rarely provide the full story. Statistics simply track reported bites, most often neglecting to provide an explication of the circumstances under which those bites occurred. Was the dog being taunted? Was someone ignorantly invading the dog’s territory? Was someone allowing their small child to abuse a dog–pulling its tail, its hair, trying to climb on top of it, etc.–with the predictable result the dog responded with one of the few defenses it has: biting. It’s that “fight or flight” thing that even human beings still find themselves responding to; something as primordial to the preservation of the species, any species, as eating, drinking, sleeping.
Be that as it may, the blarney about this cop feeling “threatened” by Rocky is, well, blarney. We are told in an item in the January 31, 2009, edition of the Rocky (Daniel J. Chacon) that “Rocky was shot in the back and in the head… His wounds were later determined to be consistent with the dog having been shot from behind while fleeing from the officer.” This quote comes from Rocky’s owner’s claim against the city.
Then there was the earlier recounting of the incident by a witness, Serferino Quintana, who said the dog never turned on the cop. Quintana reported that the dog was running into a side yard when it was shot. “Bam, bam – that was it,” Quintana said. “The dog was running for his life.”
The facts on this one, Mister Rosenthal, appear to be pretty clear-cut, in spite of what your investigators and the Use of Force committee might have provided to you.
Oh, by the way, that’s my niece, Kate, at about one-year old with her buddy, her protector, her best friend, Charley. Yeah, another vicious Lab.