WARNING: Video is disturbing
MINNEAPOLIS - Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau has issued a statement, a day after an officer shot at two dogs in a homeowner's fenced-in backyard, which was all caught on surveillance video.
Harteau, who says she's had dogs most of her life, states the video was "difficult to watch."
Her full statement is, as follows:
"I’ve watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch. This was an outcome that no one wanted. I’ve asked for an Internal Affairs use of force review. We are reaching out to the family to help them with the veterinary care bills to ensure that both dogs are adequately taken care of. To help us prevent similar outcomes in the future, we will be implementing updated mandatory training specifically for officers identifying effective tools and tactical strategies with police and dog encounters. We want both our officers and all our community members to be safe.”
KARE 11 confirmed Minneapolis Police does not currently have a policy on how to handle any animal when confronted while on duty.
After the video was posted to Facebook on Sunday, police issued a statement, saying that officers were responding to a residential burglary alarm when the shooting occurred.
In the video, a dog is seen approaching the officer in the north Minneapolis yard. The officer backs away and shoots the dog, and then a second dog runs in and the officer opens fire at that dog, as well. The dogs run away and the officer can be seen climbing the fence and leaving the yard.
The police report states that "two large size pitbulls charged at officer" before he fired at them.
However, the dog's owner, Jennifer LeMay, said on Facebook that the dogs were not attacking or charging at the officer.
Now LeMay has hired an attorney, and claims police filed a false report by claiming the dogs charged.
"As far as we're concerned, it's a crime to file a false report. And there should be a criminal prosecution if in fact that happened," said attorney Mike Padden, who adds that LeMay is considering filing a lawsuit in federal court against the officer.
The video was from her home security system and she posted it at 12:37 a.m. Sunday. As of 3 p.m. Monday, it has been viewed more than 341,000 times.
"My dog had stopped. My dog wasn't even facing him to charge him or be in an aggressive manner to him. You still shot him," she said.
KARE 11 showed the video to Mike Quinn, who was a Minneapolis Police Officer for 23 years and now runs a police training firm.
"The dog's tail is wagging. Ears are down. They're not back. He's just curious, and he shoots him," Quinn said. "I don't see any reason to shoot the first dog."
Quinn, who also spent time as an internal affairs investigator, says there are circumstances where officers need to shoot dogs.
"Any dog that's coming at you that's acting aggressively," he said. "Growling, snapping, ears back, hair up on their back."
But he said he just doesn't see that in LeMay's surveillance video.
The two dogs, Rocko and Ciroc, required surgery.
LeMay has set up a GoFundMe to help with the dogs' enormous medical bills. She said on Facebook that one dog, Rocko, is doing OK after surgery. She says the vet is more worried about the other, Ciroc, who has a fractured jaw. LeMay set a $15,000 goal, and as of 3 p.m. Monday people had contributed more than $20,000.
The Minneapolis Police Department Internal Affairs Unit is investigating the shooting.
Their full statement reads:
“We are aware of the recent incident involving MPD officers responding to an audible residential burglary alarm and while at this call an MPD officer discharged their firearm, striking two dogs belonging to the homeowner. Anytime an officer discharges their firearm in the line of duty there is an investigation that is completed by the Minneapolis Police Department’s Internal Affairs Unit. We are in the process of reviewing the video posted online, as well as the officer's body camera video. We have reached out to the owner of the dogs and will continue to do so during the investigation. At this time there is no further information we can release."
Warning: The below video is disturbing.