POLICE BRUTALITY: Dog Beaten & Shot Dead By Overreacting Cop At Crowded Street Festival
EDITORS NOTE: ALTHOUGH THIS HAPPENED IN 2010 I FELT IT NEEDED TO BE SHOWN TO THE READERS.
(ILD) Was the shooting death of a dog by a police officer during a crowded street festival in Washington, D.C. justified? A Poodle mix and a Pit Bull-Shar Pei mix named Parrot got into a scuffle at the Adams Morgan Day festival. Aaron Block, Parrot’s owner, told the Washington Post that he had separated the dogs and was trying to calm Parrot when police officers arrived.
In a statement, Block said Officer Scott Fike knocked him off of Parrot. As a photo taken by witness “Darcycat1” shows, Fike then kneed Parrot in the back and yanked the dog’s front paws underneath him.
Lifting the dog by his neck and back, Fike then threw Parrot over a banister and down a 10-foot concrete stairwell. Block says that when his dog – who “doesn’t handle stairs well” and was 12 to 15 steps away from Fike – staggered to his feet, the officer shot and killed him.
“The officer drew his gun in an unnecessary act of cowboy gun-slinging law enforcement and shot my dog amidst a crowd of thousands,” Block said. He had been fostering Parrot through Lucky Dog Animal Rescue.
The police report (PDF) tells an different story, stating that Parrot charged toward Fike in the stairwell. According to the report, Fike, “[f]earing for his safety and the safety of the large crowd that had gathered, discharged one round from his departmental issued 9MM Glock striking the pitbull causing it to fall to the bottom of the stairs. The pitbull later expired.”
Two festival attendees agree with the police report, although neither witnessed the actual shooting. Tony De Pass, a former D.C. police officer, told the Washington Post that Parrot snapped at Fike as the officer held him down, prompting Fike to throw the dog down the stairwell. (The police report says Fike was not bitten, but only scratched on his hand and wrist.) Soleiman Askarinam, the owner of a nearby restaurant, said it took several officers to get Parrot under control, and he felt police “did a good job” in controlling the situation.
Many more witnesses dispute the report. Lucky Dog Animal Rescue reports that one unnamed witness said Parrot appeared to be stunned from the fall and did not charge the officer. The witness said the dog had just gotten to his feet when Fike drew his gun and opened fire without provocation.
“This I saw because I was standing at the doorway of the business where the dog was killed,” the witness said. “As I turned away, in one to three seconds a single shot rang out. I then went out on the platform above the stairwell, and saw the dying dog’s head was nearly on top of the floor drain next to the locked gate at the bottom of the steps, facing away from the steps.”
Other horrified witnesses included 9-year-old Neda Changuit and her parents, who said Parrot appeared to be subdued before Fike threw him over the banister. Changuit’s mother watched “with shock and total disbelief” as Fike calmly fired at the dog. “I thought initially that it couldn’t possibly be a real gun,” she told the Washington Post.
Sushi, the Poodle mix involved in the fight – and who some eyewitnesses say initiated the scuffle — is recovering from two broken bones and a large gash. Her owner, Sheila Martins, told the Washington Post, “the police did the right thing because at that moment, the dog, it wasn’t controllable. I could tell like how aggressive the dog was. If he would start running around, he would attack somebody.” Martins did not witness the shooting.
Parrot is not the only dog to have been questionably shot and killed by a police officer in recent months. As we reported last month, an off-duty officer shot dead Bear-Bear in a Maryland dog park after he got in a scuffle with his dog. The officer, Keith Shepherd, was charged with two misdemeanors: Animal cruelty and discharging a firearm within 100 yards of an occupied home.
In another case this past Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla., a Chesapeake Bay Retriever and a Rottweiler were both shot to death by what their owner called a “trigger-happy cop” after they scuffled with an unleashed dog that attacked them during a walk. Even after the Chessie was shot and lying on the ground, the officer, Slobodan Juric, shot her two more times. An internal affairs investigation is underway.
Meanwhile, “in memory of a fantastic dog,” Lucky Dog Animal Rescue has created Parrot’s Fund. Donations will be used to rescue bully breeds in high-kill shelters and to educate the community “on the many wonderful attributes of these dogs.”
You can demand that the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department investigates Parrot’s shooting and takes appropriate action against the officer by signing this petition. (Be aware that this links to a petition targeting the Metropolitan Police Department. There is another petition on Facebook that targets the wrong Scott Fike.)