Commerce City, Colorado has just paid what appears to be the largest financial settlement in U.S. history for the death of someone’s pet.
The city paid $262,500 to the family of a chocolate lab-mix named Chloe, who was shot and killed by police. The payment was part of a settlement to avoid a federal civil court trial scheduled later this month. In addition to the settlement, Commerce City spent $125,227.38 in legal fees, with the city’s out-of-pocket expense being a $50,000 deductible.
In November 2012, officers responded to a report of a dog running in a neighborhood. After capturing Chloe with a catch pole and shooting it with a stun gun, Officer Robert Price fired five shots at the dog, killing it.
Video of the event was captured by a neighbor, and can be seen below. To be clear, three officers were involved. including an extremely poorly trained person from Animal Control. Most Animal Control officers get little or no training before being sent out to do their job. And guess what? Commerce City still says the officer did nothing wrong shooting the restrained dog; that's all within accepted policy!
The simple truth is that some police officers shoot dogs for fun, while others are very poorly trained and extremely trigger-happy. And so what if they shoot a dog, right? Absent a video camera record, who is to say that the dog was not a danger? No one!
This is why every police and every animal control officer should be required to wear body cameras.
Funny how the police can come up with the money for cruisers, guns, computers, and every kind of assault weapon, plus nearly unlimited overtime, but a body camera seems to be an expense too far. Ridiculous!