Body camera footage from a police officer shows two emotional teenage boys crying over their dog’s dead body after the officer shot and instantly killed the dog on their property.
The Internet is furious after footage from a patrolman’s body camera shows what happened after a family’s pet dog was shot and killed in his own home.
On the 19th of December, an officer with the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office responded to the tripping of a burglar alarm at a family home on Maple Street in Westside. The alarm had been accidentally tripped by the family’s teenage sons.
The officer in question approached the home and saw a pit bull terrier, belonging to the family, guarding the area. When the dog, named Prophet, came towards him in what the officer describes as a threatening manner, he fired his gun at the poor pup – a loyal guard dog only hoping to protect his home and the young boys within.
Following a public records request, the Sheriff's Office released body camera footage from the officer who took the shot. The footage is absolutely heartbreaking and shows the teenage boys in this home overcome with tears and emotion upon seeing their dog killed so impulsively in front of them.
In the video, the boys are heard crying, saying again and again that the officer shot Prophet when they first see their beloved family dog lying, unmoving, in front of them. In a gut-wrenching moment, one of the boys looks at the officer and asks why he would shoot the pup, begging and pleading to know why: “Sir, please, why?”
Police state that Prophet allegedly charged at the officer who arrived on the scene, and that the officer made the decision to fire his gun as he was worried for his safety. However, the family that owned the dog certainly believe that the officer could have better handled the whole situation. Currently, the owner and father of the family, Matthew Long, is considering putting out a lawsuit against the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office.
In the video, you can also hear the officer explaining that the dog “came at him”. The boys asked the officer why he was at their home and proceeded to call their father, Long. The ensuing phone conversation can also be heard in the footage. Long angrily demands to know who the cop who shot at his family dog is, and he rushes back home and soon arrives on the scene. Meanwhile, the officer called for a supervisor as well as backup, and the officer who took the shot leaves the scene before Long arrives.
Further body camera footage shows Long angrily demanding to speak to the officer who cruelly killed Prophet. He shouts and swears, clearly heartbroken and upset, saying that the police have killed his dog of 12 years. The police say they know he’s upset, which only serves to anger Long further. He then asks why the officer couldn’t have used a mace instead, to which police explain that every situation differs. Long finishes by saying they killed poor, undeserving Prophet just before Christmas, and in front of his children.
It wasn’t long before the Sheriff’s Office looked into the case, but the review board assigned to the investigation determined that the offending officer’s choice to shoot and kill Prophet was justified.
Meanwhile, Long states that he doesn’t think the JSO truly understands the severity of their actions. He states that Prophet was a member of the family and like a child to him, and Prophet’s loss is as painful as the loss of any other family member. He berates the fact that the JSO considers it just another day on the job, while his family suffers and grieves. He doesn’t think the officer gave the pup a chance for even a moment.
Long and his family hired Tarak Anada as their representing attorney, and Anada believes the officer should not have reacted the way he did – especially since Long knows Prophet would not have been out to bite him. Anada adds that officers are supposed to observe the surrounding environment when they arrive at a scene and should be prepared to peacefully deal with family pets if they notice obvious signs of their existence.
Pitbull dogs are often wrongly judged as aggressive, even though studies have shown them to be patient and have outstanding temperaments. At the end of the day, Long wants justice for Prophet and wants the JSO to better train their officers to act responsibly around the pets of people.