Police officer shot a dog twice because he ran over to him

NEWS AND COMMENT-LOVELAND, COLORADO, USA: In June 2019, a Loveland police officer, Matthew Grashorn, went to an empty car park where there was Wendy Love and her husband together with their three dogs who were running around. The police were responding to a call from a person in a nearby building who wanted to know what was going on. It appears that they suspected foul play and they wanted the police to investigate. It’s not clear how they could judge foul play from three dogs running around a car park but nonetheless they did this.

Police officer shot a dog twice just because the animal ran towards him
Police officer shot a dog twice just because the animal ran towards him. Image from a body cam.
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As the police officer, Grashorn, arrived without announcing his presence, one of the dogs ran over to him. He drew his pistol from his holster. The officer asked Wendy Love to call the dog off which he did and the dog retreated. Then, another of the couple’s dogs, a 14-month-old Staffordshire terrier-boxer cross, Herkimer, jumped out of their truck and swiftly moved towards the officer.

It appears that the officer was nervous and thought that the dog was about to attack him. Wendy Love said that he was just curious. What happened next was shocking. The police officer fired two bullets at Herkimer. Apparently one of them struck his head.

The dog dropped to the pavement and was clearly dying. Ms Love asked the officer why he did it and in response he said: “I don’t know, because he’s coming after me like he’s going to bite me.”

Then the dog’s owner pleaded with the police officer to let them take Herkimer to a veterinarian. The request was refused until a supervisor turned up which happened eight minutes later. Herkimer was euthanized four days later by a veterinarian. They must’ve assessed the dog as being terminal because of the injuries sustained.

Wendy Love told The Washington Post that the dog was friendly and not dangerous. She said: “He looked like he was curious and excited to greet this officer, and watching him get shot in the head and fall down was traumatic.”

Ms Love is suing the police department for compensation and to expose heavy-handedness. She has sued the police department twice before. The police department has been criticised for the use of excessive force on many occasions. Their heavy-handed tactics have been recorded on officers’ body cameras.

Comment: to an outsider like me it seems that the police officer was incredibly nervous and highly defensive. There was clearly no need to shoot simply because the animal came towards him. He could have waited and if necessary, defended himself by other means. But according to Ms Love that would have been unnecessary. To an outsider this does indeed look like an excessive use of force.

However, it is very hard to successfully sue a police department because the police have to do something extraordinary bad for such a case to succeed. If his behaviour is within the limits of what is considered to be reasonable behaviour under the circumstances then nothing will happen. And indeed, nothing has happened because he has not been reprimanded by the police department and he won’t be.

The only good thing to come out of this is that there is news media coverage. But it won’t stimulate this police force into changing their ways. Police have deeply entrenched habits and methods and they have thick skins when it comes to criticism.

P.S. The busybody who called the police should be ashamed but I think he did it knowing that there would be a bad outcome. I suspect they dislike Ms Love and husband.

Source: The Independent.

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