Dog Killing Cop In Danville Virginia Fired

(BUCKS RIGHT)   A while back I reported the story of “Killer,” the Harper family’s “diminutive” elderly 12-pound mini-dachshund shot and killed last month by Danville Virginia police officer Murrill McLean as he was serving a warrant in the Harper family’s cul-de-sac.

Harper’s children, who were inside the house, heard the gunshot and called their father, who raced home to find Killer laying on the ground “with his guts hanging out.”

According to [local TV station] NBC4i, the officer leaned against his patrol car, smoking a cigarette. He refused to give Harper his name and badge number and said “he had to shoot the dog because he was barking at him.”

After the initial investigation, Danville Police Chief Philip Broadfoot stood behind McLean’s actions.  But, as additional information about the shooting came to light, Broadfoot – to his credit – ordered further investigation and even visited the scene himself.

The result: Broadfoot says McLean lied about the shooting, McLean’s superiors who helped cover up the lies and sully the original investigation face disciplinary action, and McLean has been fired.

McLean says Killer charged him as he was returning to his patrol car, but Broadfoot’s investigation found the blood stain from the shooting on a neighbor’s front steps.

Broadfoot released a statement on the matter Friday.

The shooting took place on June 8th at 100 Berman Drive when a dachshund attacked Officer Murrill McLean as he was attempting to serve a warrant. The supervisor who responded to the scene did an excellent job responding to the grief of the dog’s owners, but did not properly investigate the shooting and document the evidence. The supervisor accepted McLean’s account without a detailed demonstration or explanation of how the shooting took place. A proper investigation would have shown that where Officer McLean was standing during the attack would have provided him the time, distance and means necessary to consider other options before using his firearm.

On June 10th, Deputy Chief Tom Brown raised questions about the quality of the investigation and ordered more information and pictures. The new information and pictures simply supported the original documentation. After I returned to work from my vacation on the morning of Thursday, June 11th, I used the investigation file and a personal telephone interview with Officer McLean to make my decision that the shooting was regrettable but justified under department policy.

After hearing comments in the media about bloodstain evidence at the scene that was not documented in the investigation file, I went to Berman Drive and personally looked at the scene of the shooting. My observations immediately raised questions in my mind about how the shooting actually occurred. Officer McLean could not be questioned at that time because he was out of town. Once I was able to interview him in person on June 24th, I ordered a full-scale internal affairs investigation of the entire incident.

The internal affairs investigation is now complete. The investigation determined that while Officer McLean’s fear of rabies is well founded based on several personal life experiences, his reports of how the shooting occurred were misleading and factually inaccurate. Based on these reports and a thorough review of the physical evidence, I have determined that the shooting of the dachshund did not follow department policy and was not justified. The investigation also determined that several supervisors in his chain of command did not ensure the incident was properly investigated.

As a result of the investigation, Officer McLean has been terminated from employment and disciplinary proceedings have been initiated with the supervisors for violating department policy. Because this is now a personnel matter involving discipline, I cannot give more complete details. This entire matter has been an embarrassment to the Danville Police Department, the City of Danville, and to me personally. I apologize for our failure to respond to this situation appropriately. We can do better. In fact, we regularly investigate crimes and thoroughly document the evidence. I can only conclude that this incident was not treated as the serious matter it actually was, and that attitude resulted in an incomplete and faulty investigation.

I apologize to the Harper family for the loss of their pet and pledge to them that I will make changes in our operation to ensure that nothing like this happens again. No further comments will be made concerning this matter unless new information develops.

Of course, none of this brings Killer back or mends the broken hearts of the Harper family.  But it is a victory for those who, unlike McLean, realize the place dogs hold within families.

Here’s a local news report with details.

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