Update – Denver Cop Kills Labrador Retriever – Justice Lingers

yellow-labAs 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.

kate-and-charlieOh, 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.

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4 Responses to Update – Denver Cop Kills Labrador Retriever – Justice Lingers

  1. I hope this family wins. You’re right, the officer in question should resign. So many good police officers are disgraced by a few losers. You’d think the ‘superiors’ at the DPD would realize that and move swiftly.

    No matter, the wheels of Justice grind slowly but to a fine consistency.

    Thanks for highlighting this George.

  2. Windy says:

    Unfortunately this is not an “isolated incident” these kinds of canine murders are happening all across the nation. If SWAT is called in to serve a standard warrant (most of which could actually be delivered by knocking on the door in broad daylight, without incident), the very first thing they do after breaking down the door is shoot any dogs on the premises, as a matter of procedure. Doesn’t matter if the dog is big or small, running toward or away from officers, or even hiding in the bathroom, under a table, or under the bed.

    The tactic is standard procedure, designed to disenhearten and intimidate the “suspects” (a form of torture, actually, IMNSHO), as is the follow up destruction of anything of worth on the premises during the “search”. Unfortunately, these kinds of excesses happen just as many times when they’ve got the wrong address as when they’ve got the right one, and the vast majority of the warrants served in this manner are for non-violent drug (usually cannabis) “offenses”.

    We the People have got to stand up and say we won’t allow this kind of criminal behavior from our law enforcement officers, anymore. Additionally, in most cases, even of wrong address incidents, there is no recompense for the damage, they won’t even restore the door or apologize. It is time to say law enforcement may only call out their SWAT unit if there is a hostage situation.

    By the way, the DEA is using the same tactics as smash and grab thieves when they “raid” legal (under state law) medical marijuana dispensaries, the destroy everything they do not take as “evidence (money, computers and product). Why do we allow our law enforcement agents to act like criminals? Have we have lost sight of the reason for law enforcement?

  3. Dave Felice says:

    Send your cards and letters to:
    Richard Rosenthal
    Director – Office of the Independent Monitor
    Department 201
    201 West Colfax
    Denver CO 80202
    V: 720-913-3306
    F: 720-913-3305
    richard.rosenthal@ci.denver.co.us
    http://www.denvergov.org/oim

  4. harlequinsgardens says:

    Thanks for the addresses Dave! I’ve sent an e-mail requesting an update. Keep after this guys. The bureaucrats will slide it off the desk if they think no one’s watching.

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