Philadelphia, PA — A dog rescuer was recently harassed by local police for walking his dogs in a public park. When a video of the encounter went viral, agents from the Department of Homeland Security were sent to his home, because of alleged “anti-cop” posts that were seen on his Facebook page.
Independent dog rescuer Damion Trakas has been taking dogs off the streets for years and has had great success training them to be well-mannered and friendly. Many of the dogs that Damion rescues are pit bulls. Unfortunately, although the dogs are well-behaved, there is still a social stigma against the breed, and he has faced regular persecution for taking his dogs to the Cione Park near his house.
On one recent occasion while walking his dogs in the park, Trakas says he was approached by a threatening man who was attending a nearby children’s soccer game. The man made comments about pit bulls and made threats to both Trakas and his dogs. Damion responded by telling the man to mind his own business and said that he had just as much of a right to be in the park than anyone else. He also told the man that it would be a very bad idea to follow through on those threats and attack one of his dogs. He then walked off, but moments later decided to walk back and make peace because they all have to share the park. He was brushed off by the man, who told him that he had no desire to hear anything that Trakas had to say.
As this conversation was happening, police began arriving on the scene because they were called at some point earlier. Damion talked with the police and displayed how well-behaved his dogs were. Surprisingly the police sided with him and told everyone that he had just as much of a right to be in the park as anyone else does. The next time he went to the park, Damion spoke with other regulars there and learned that the people who threatened him and called the cops on him were actually off-duty police officers themselves.
The soccer team in which these alleged off-duty officers are involved with their children meets every Sunday, and Damion continued to take his dogs to the park throughout the week without any troubles. However, when the next Sunday rolled around, the police were called on him again. This time they were obviously there on a personal vendetta, and they were not nearly as understanding about the situation. When the police became aggressive with Damion he took out his cellphone and began to record the encounter.
Having no other reason to write him up, the officer seen in the video wrote him a citation for not having tags on his dogs, which is an extremely rare charge. After the video was posted, it took about 3 weeks to go viral. Soon after the video began to gain traction, agents from the Department of Homeland Security were sent to his house, apparently due to other posts seen on his Facebook page.
Damion was not informed of the specific post that caused him to be labeled a threat. Trakas has made a number of posts about dog owners defending their pets from police violence, and the agents indicated that it was one of those posts which led them to his door. After he was interviewed on his doorstep by DHS agents, Damion made the following post:
Just got a visit from…….
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY!!!
And I know they are watching my page right now. But I have nothing to hide.
They were very professional, fair, nice guys. (one was a dog rescuer. RESPECT)
let me clear something up for any FANATICS.
My prior postings regarding shooting police are an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE.
I am TIRED of police getting away with MURDER.
So instead of further policing good citizens MAYBE start holding police ACCOUNTABLE???!!
Of course you shouldn’t shoot cops or anyone for that matter.
I still stand on YOUR RIGHT TO DEFEND LIFE!!! NO MATTER WHO IT IS.
I might choose my wording better as to not instigate any cop hating fanatics, that which I am NOT, but I’ll NEVER change my stance on KILLING INNOCENT LIFE! Be it human or animal.
HOLD ALL ACCOUNTABLE!!!
INCLUDING THE ONES ON YOUR TEAM!!
This is what happens when a video goes viral and people actually start PAYING ATTENTION.
Damion has since filed a complaint with the department’s internal investigation unit for harassment and is considering further legal options in his case.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter-culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work, he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.