Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Smell of Fear

Either as a result of their hyper-acute sense of smell, or an instinctive ability to decipher behavioral cues, dogs have an uncanny ability to detect fear. Owing to the relentless indoctrination they undergo regarding the primacy of “officer safety” and the supposedly all-encompassing threat environment in which they operate, cops exude a dense musk of fear that dogs can probably detect. This might help explain why casual encounters between dogs and cops frequently end with the dog being shot and left to die.

On October 7, Cherrie Shelton of Albany, Georgia saw Patches, her two-year-old Jack Russell Terrier, gunned down by a probation officer named Antoine Jones on her front porch. Shelton began to explain that the tiny dog – who posed no conceivable threat to anybody – didn’t bite. By that time, however, Jones had already pulled out his gun and taken aim. He fired a single round that entered the dog’s left side, exiting through its stomach.

Shelton spent a half-hour desperately trying to save her dog. When she angrily demanded to know why Jones – who had visited the home before – shot the harmless dog, the 300-pound emissary of the tax-fattened class insisted that the 12-pound Jack Russell Terrier made him “fear for his life.” The Georgia Department of Corrections later issued a statement saying that its valiant officer had “acted appropriately” by slaughtering a dog that posed no threat.

On October 20, it was Boise resident Gabrielle Stopkai’s turn to watch as a police officer gunned down the family dog, a mixed-breed named Kita. The officers had visited the neighborhood following a reported robbery, but were not responding to that call when they passed by Stopkai’s home. Two weeks earlier, the five-year-old dog had given birth to a litter of six puppies, and she had become predictably apprehensive when strangers would approach. 

The officers claimed that Kita had “charged” them, snarling and acting “aggressively.” Stopkai and other witnesses insist that the dog’s behavior, while territorial, wasn’t threatening. The encounter lasted five seconds, ending when an officer fired a single shot into the back of Kita’s head from a distance of about three feet. Among those who witnessed this act of casual cruelty was Stopkai’s two-year-old son.

Survivor: One of Kita's six motherless puppies.
According to Stropkai, the Boise Police Department told her they wouldn’t even bother to investigate the actions of its officers, because the reflexive destruction of her dog is within department policy.

“As with every citizen, a person has the right to defend themselves,” sniffed Boise PD information officer Charles McClure. This is true, but irrelevant. Anybody not wearing the habiliments of the state’s punitive priesthood would be required to demonstrate that the dog had posed a genuine threat, and would face civil and criminal liability for the gratuitous destruction of another individual’s property. 

Police are supposedly bold and intrepid defenders of the public weal, yet every time a cop guns down a dog we’re told, in effect, that officers are uncommonly timid and high-strung creatures who are all but paralyzed with fear at the approach of an unfamiliar canine. We never hear or read about people who provide useful services being “forced” to defend themselves against supposedly aggressive dogs by killing them. Yet “puppycide” by police is something that occurs every day

The critical variable is not the behavior of the dog, but the sense of impunity granted to police officers. They don't shoot dogs because they have to, but because they can.
Officers salute "K9 Officer" about to be euthanized.
Police consider themselves entitled to shoot any dog that barks in their direction. They likewise claim the supposed authority to arrest and prosecute any Mundane who “threatens” or “distracts” a police dog – or, as they would describe the creature, “K-9 officer.” 

It’s common for police departments to hold retirement ceremonies for police dogs – in fact, the day after two Boise police officers gunned down Kita, the department announced the “retirement” of a drug detection dog named K.C. Retired police dogs are frequently given official funerals, and sometimes listed in the roster of “fallen officers.”

Not surprisingly, things are handled much differently when a police dog inflicts actual injury on a member of the productive class.  

A police dog in Brazil, Indiana attacked an 11-year-old boy and mangled his leg during a War on Drugs agitprop event at the county courthouse. The officers immediately reacted to this assault by drawing their service revolvers and gunning down the dog. No, of course they didn’t: The official response was to cut the victim in for a share of the blame.

“One of the children – an 11-year-old male – had moved quickly,” insisted Brazil Police Chief Clint McQueen. “The dog responded quickly, grabbed the boy’s leg, which caused a couple of puncture wounds. It was only a few seconds before officers had control of the dog, got him to release the bite.”

That precious interval – “a few seconds” – is all it takes for officers in different circumstances to shoot any dog that barks at them, or appears ready to do so. Rather than being destroyed immediately, the police dog was taken out of service for evaluation. McQueen promises that it won’t do “police work” until test results are available. Neither retirement nor destruction of the officially licensed attack dog appears to be an option.
Because this “unfortunate accident” – as McQueen described the event – involved an “officer,” the doctrine of “qualified immunity” will protect the handler from civil liability for the injury inflicted on the child. 
Officer Fredericksen and "Aik."
Lynwood, Illinois Police Chief Michael Mears followed that formula perfectly last April when Aik, one of his K-9 “officers,” attacked a terrified child.

“This is just one of those unfortunate accidents,” Mears said, no doubt with a “sucks to be you” shrug. 

Julia Klooserterman was walking with her four children in nearby Lowell, Indiana when a dog in a neighbor’s yard charged at them. Rather than pulling out a handgun and killing the animal, the mother interposed herself, shielding her children with her body. She couldn’t protect all of her children. Aik charged the group from the rear, knocking one of the children to the ground and biting him on the neck. 

The dogs are owned by Lynwood Police Officer Brandin Fredericksen, who was not on duty at the time of the attack. Lowell Police Chief Erik Matson told the Chicago Sun-Times that the matter was closed once Fredericksen provided rabies documentation to the police.
Lynwood Chief Mears blithely assured the Sun-Times that Aik is a “social dog” that has “participated in demonstrations with the public without incident” since mauling the child. If Aik had been a privately owned pet that so much as growled at a member of Mears’ department, it would be dead. 

Any encounter with a strange dog can leave a person unsettled. This is true of postal carriers, private delivery and service personnel, and police officers. But only cops consider themselves entitledto shoot dogs on sight. Apparently, there is something about being given a badge and a government-issued costume that brings out the latent cowardice in people thus attired. 

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Anonymous said...

And some people think it's a good idea to have cops like those cops on rooftops while overseeing a pumpkin festival full of children. Amazing:

Pumpkin Festival Snipers: Part of the Police State or Protecting Citizens FROM the Police State?

… “Perhaps more places need to consider the wisdom of deploying Police protection FOR their citizens FROM a federal government run amok. With the alarming requisitions for ammo, weapons, and battle gear that the Department of Homeland Security keeps making, it looks like we certainly need a buffer. Maybe if we aren’t putting snipers on the rooftops to guard us from our own government, we should.”


- IndividualAudienceMember

Lemuel Gulliver said...

This has to be made to stop. It is not going to stop by itself. Six million Jews went meekly to their deaths without protest, but that meekness did not prompt their killers to kindness or remorse. Just the opposite. When one is dealing with a human predator or psychopath, treating their violence with kindness and understanding only makes them suspicious, and prompts them to even more violence.

It is hard for people with a conscience to believe that there exist psychopaths with no conscience, no empathy, and no feelings. But they do exist. Google "Political Ponerology" and you will find studies of this mental condition, which you may research.

I firmly believe this evil will only stop when no psychopath wants any longer to become a police officer, because the job is too dangerous, and he will probably die in some spectacularly horrible way. I will not go into what way that might be - examples abound from the Russian Revolution, the wars in Yugoslavia, and various wars in Africa. Some of the ways people have died in those conflicts are the stuff of nightmares. Does this horror have to come to America for us to be releieved of the burden of our oppression?

Also, it will be necessary to include as targets those for whom the police work. Again, no need to spell them out - we all know who they are, and so do they. Only when the Titans of Wall Street and the Corporatocracy live in constant terror for themselves and their children, will they stop sucking the blood of the human race. Only when their lifestyles of obscene luxury are spoiled by the constant fear of a horrible death, will they depart and leave us alone.

It is a pity that human filth can only be cleansed by blood, but it seems that is the only way. One can chase away nuisance birds and animals, but cockroaches cannot be driven out except by killing them. Same with psychopaths. JFK, RFK, Gandhi, MLK, all the proponents of peace were murdered by the proponents of violence. Even Jesus Christ did not succeed in softening the hearts of the elites of his day, even if the reasons in his case were of divine intent. Only in one historical instance - South Africa - did peaceful men overcome violence with forgiveness. Why that is, I cannot say, but the South Africans I have met, white and black, have all been unusually fine people. In America, there seem to be too many of the other kind, for the good people to prevail. A pity. This used to be such a fine country.

- Lemuel G.

Anonymous said...

A Mountain City, TN officer was fired for shooting & pepper spraying a squirrel in the town dollar store.


dickm said...

Double standard for police violence is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. Apparently, shooting of animals (and people) is acceptable police policy. Where are city and county officials when it comes to authorizing this type of activity? This is not the behavior we expect from police. Fire them all, if they misuse power.

Bob Robertson said...

For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it

Julie said...

Fantastic article and thank you so much for bringing this topic up. Have you read about this case in Florida? (Forgive me if any of the details are slightly inaccurate. I tried to find the article but it's been a couple of years since this incident took place and there are so many articles that pop up when you google it).
I read one case (I believe in Florida) where a Mom, Dad their young teenage son and their family dog (who just so happened to be a pit bull) were stopping for gas. The father accidentally left his wallet on the roof of their vehicle and as they pulled away, it fell to the ground where someone ran to pick it up. They decided to call the police (and of course the situation automatically deteriorated) who determined that the wallet could have been stolen so in a perfectly logical and cost effective move, the police identify their vehicle, pull them over and make them all kneel down with their hands above their heads.
This incident happened so fast that the father can be seen on the dash cam begging the two officers to let him close their car door because they're on a busy highway and the dog might jump out and get hit by a car. The officers refuse to acquiesce and sneer at the terrified family.
The dog, of course, can be seen coming out of the car with its tail wagging and it saunters over to one of the officers.
Calmly and with as much dignity as a sociopath can muster, one of the deputies simply raises his shotgun (yes, he has a shotgun pointed at a Father a Mother and their son) and shoots the dog point blank in the face as the son looks on screaming and crying.
I've never been angrier in my entire life than after I read that story. They sued the city and I believe they won but how is money going to erase the memory of what happened to them and their animal?
And the deputies can be seen laughing about it.

Anonymous said...

You might be interested in this puppycide documentary about the runaway killing of dogs by the "police".....the creators are looking for support:


Anonymous said...

Names, Please!!!
What can we do about these kinds of "incidents"?
I would like to see other Americans SHUN people like this. These cops' names and mug shots should go viral and every so that we all can shun them. Don't serve them at restaurants. Refuse to service their vehicles. Call them out in church.
You get the idea.

Anonymous said...

I don't think we as a citizenry are ever going to "win" against the police (or any other part of government) when they do what was described in this, or any other blog written here.

All I ever hear about is how the police broke into someone's home, shot people, shot dogs, terrorized children, confiscated property, etc. But I never hear about citizens going on the offensive against the police. It's always the citizen victims being on the receiving end of the abuse, and then those citizens complaining about it in court--often unsuccessfully, and then others spreading it around on the internet for people to read and get angry about. But the abuse, murder, thefts, all continue. They haven't even slowed down because no reason has been given to do so.

I'm just trying to point out that the people will simply have to band together and go on the offensive at some point if they expect to be free for tyranny, and I'm not referring to going to the polls in November to "vote the bums out of office". Has any people in the past gained freedom without violence? I can't think of any instance where that was the case.

Keith said...

Anon @ October 26, 2013 at 2:32 PM

You pose an interesting question, and I think that the answer is far more complex than any one person can comprehend.

Trying to keep this at a level that I can understand...

We, as individuals, need to ask ourselves the question of what sort of society we would individually wish to live in?

(for me that would be a socially quite conservative and entirely volountary society)

Then as individual we need to ask how we get from here to there?

I don't believe that we can use bad means to obtain good results; you sow thistle seeds, you get a crop of thistles.

if you sow violence you get a crop of violence.

Empirically, we know that when some lone wolf or small group goes on a cop murdering spree [1], the reek of panic amongst the ranks of cops is there for anyone to smell.

But what good does that do in the long term? as a gang they're going to try to re establish their "street cred" they might have to do it cautiously, but they'll try, and shooting dogs and kids are just the sort of childish and vindictive intimidation tactics they really enjoy.

What is an organized cell or cells of cop murderers going to turn into? are they going to keep focused on taking out the individual bad cops, or are they going to realize that they can make a bigger difference to their own individual lives by using their skills and abilities on easier and more financially rewarding targets?

Remember that a violent gang is a violent gang, a cell of cop murderers is subject to almost the same level of corrupting influences[2] as the violent cop gang that they are targeting.

What if they (the cop murdering gang) win the war? do the cop murderers become the new coercive monopoly cops? Historically that is how new regimes have arisen: "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss".

I'm not claiming to have an answer, I'm just quietly trying to find ways to wake other people up to our present dangerous situation, not to get into arguments with them (though I frequently do fail enough to end up arguing and to loose that person's attention and receptiveness forever).

Ideally I would like a society of individuals who mind their own business, who are deeply suspicious of any "power", and who at every turn frustrate "power":

Their resources are not in a form to be found or stolen by tax collectors,

At any sign of police activity, a crowd forms, each individual filming with a camera phone (taking care not to film any kids who are letting the cops vehicle tyres down) and calling to the cops in a tone that makes it clear that they are not welcome; "can I help you?", "everything alright?" etc.

Cops and other thugs and those who associate with them are shunned [3]in shops, bars, housing, sports clubs, fraternal societies etc. nothing violent, just clearly made to feel not welcome.

A society that laughs and says "go on then, you'll be out there alone" to any would be politician who calls for a "war on..."

A society which refuses to grant politicians any legitimacy whatsoever - no voting, no attending political meetings.

I don't expect to see it in my life time but if I can get two people to continue the work after I'm gone, and they can get two more each to continue after they're gone...

[1] They're individual humans too, a lot of them might be very corrupted, debased and ethically impoverished individual humans, but unless it is in direct self defense, killing another human is murder.

[2] almost the same level of corrupting influence, unlike cops they don't have tame courts, paid by their employers to rubber stamp their crimes, they don't work under the claim of "popular legitimacy"

[3]Britain was supposedly getting a new law making it a crime to refuse to serve soldiers in shops, cafes and bars or to refuse to accommodate them in hotels, rented housing etc. perhaps there has been some shunning going on already.

castiron said...

But if a child gets bit by a police dog, it's only a minor injury.


Student injured by K-9 officer

Monday, October 21, 2013
By ERNEST ROLLINS, Times Staff Report

An 11-year-old male student has been treated for "minor injuries" sustained following a bite from a Brazil Police Department K-9 officer at the Red Ribbon Awareness week kick-off event at the Clay County Courthouse Thursday, officials said...

Anonymous said...

why doesn't someone with an open carry, go by one of these officers houses, where they have dogs, and shoot them, claiming that they feared for their lives. OC's are allowed to protect themselves are they not? Or what is the point of oc?