This story is everywhere. Cops kill an arrested man’s dog in Hawthorne, CA. I’m just going to make a few comments and not re-report what’s already been reported ad nauseum.
Look, I know cops put up with a lot of danger, directed hatred, and disrespect in their jobs and they really do risk their lives everyday for us. Many would call them heroes, but I think that’s an overused word (ever since 9/11). But it’s the millions of good cops that should be embarrassed and humiliated by the bad cops. And that’s what makes this story so difficult to digest. And it’s about animals too, who are innocents in a world of dirty, rotten humans. Animals don’t get to choose their plight, like humans do.
This is a very tough video to watch — on many levels. If you love dogs as much as I do, maybe you shouldn’t watch it if you haven’t already.
On the first level, though I hate to react in kneejerk fashion, this story’s permeated by a certain racist subtext. (whether intentional or not) that can’t be denied in this still-racist day and age. (No, Mr. Chief Justice Roberts, racism is NOT dead.) White cops arresting a black man (an ordained minister, btw) who is walking his dog as he begins to record the nearby police activities on his phone. (Sorry, but the only reason cops wouldn’t allow their actions photographed while in public is if they’re violating constitutional rights or breaking laws by their actions in the first place.) This man, knowing he’s about to be hassled by the cops, puts his dog back in the car, then seemingly volunteers for (or he’s ordered to comply; it’s hard to tell from the video) — or surrenders to — arrest without any resistance whatsoever. There is a backstory, though. Apparently, he complained about abuses in the police department back in March, so he may have been targeted here as a troublemaker. At any rate, an argument could be made his 4th Amendment rights were violated, without probable cause.
[I’m also cynical enough to not discount the possibility that this man planned to induce these cops, perhaps already prone to bad activity, into arresting him for fat payouts, his ten minutes of fame, etc., and his dog’s killing was an unintended consequence of his money-grubbing “reverse entrapment” efforts. Maybe he even left the windows down on the car on purpose so his dog could jump out. But if this is the case, the cops took the bait, hook, line and sinker, when they’re in the position (and have the training) to have known better. The result’s the same: a dog, not necessarily objectively vicious, was killed needlessly, whether by the cops alone, or the cops unknowingly acting in concert with the carefully scripted actions of a shrewd, vindictive opportunist.]
Second, these same cops (OK, at least one of them, Jeffrey Salmon, the dog-killer in question) felt so “threatened” by this man’s seemingly objectively unthreatening dog (until this dog-killing cop reaches down to him, that is) that he had to shoot it in front of the anguished, distraught owner, who looks away in apparent shock. Hey, I get it. It’s a Rottweiler — a breed with a gang-banging, dog-fighting reputation that precedes it. I’ve known rotties before too. They’re very sweet to their family. And to this man, that Rottweiler may be a beloved member of his family, and probably about as loving, funny and caring to him as my furry, little, comical Sheltie is to me.
Third, after being shot repeatedly, and the crowd of onlookers shriek in horror, the dog’s still seemingly left writhing in fits of pain, and in the last throes of death, rather than being put out of his misery quickly and humanely.
Fourth, the Hawthorne Police Department issues a completely bullshit rationalization why the dog was killed.
“And I know it’s the dog’s master, and more than likely not going to attack him, (but) we’ve got a guy handcuffed that’s kind of defenseless. We have a duty to defend him, too.”
— Hawthorne police spokesman Lt. Scott Swain
Fifth, that the dog-killing cop, Jeffrey Salmon, has already had a past charge of police brutality filed against him:
Yep, this is bad on many levels. There’s nothing good to come out of this incident, except greater scrutiny of police departments, especially this one, which already has a rather dubious record of abuse, sensitivity to the racial undertones and subtext of police actions, recognition that citizen-induced cop misbehavior might exist, and, finally, that this dog-killer, Jeffrey Salmon, will understandably be relieved of duty and removed from policing his fellow citizens.
- California police shoot bystander’s dog in disturbing video (NSFW) (pix11.com)