East Knox County, TN -- Kenny Bailey had committed no crime and had done nothing wrong when multiple Knox County Sheriff's deputies walked onto his private property and killed one of his three dogs. Bailey and his wife are now suing the sheriff's office for the death of their pitbull which was captured on body camera.
According to Knox News:
Attorney John Boucher Jr. has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court on behalf of Kenny Bailey and wife Tina Bailey against KCSO and the Knox County Emergency Communications District, which operates the 911 call center and dispatching operations for law enforcement in Knoxville and Knox County.
The lawsuit seeks $1.5 million in damages over the November 2016 fatal shooting of the Bailey family’s pit bull outside the Thorngrove Pike home where the Baileys and their four children live.
According to the lawsuit, Tina Bailey had placed her phone in the pocket of her robe and had no idea a call to 911 had resulted when, around 4 a.m., she received a call from the 911 center to seek to verify if she intended to dial for help. She confirmed the hang-up call to 911 was “inadvertent,” the lawsuit stated.
“However, 911 failed to communicate this information to the Knox County Sheriff’s Office dispatch, and KCSO deputies were directed to the residence of Kenny and Tina Bailey for further investigation,” the lawsuit stated.
This incompetent breakdown of communication would end with the Baileys' dog being killed.
The responding deputies “parked their patrol vehicles approximately 100 meters or more from the Bailey family home and, while still completely in the nighttime dark, they proceeded to creep around the back of several adjoining properties to approach the Baileys’ home from the rear instead of pulling up into the driveway with their lights on,” Boucher wrote in the lawsuit.
The dogs were not on a leash that night. However, they all had on shock collars which would not allow them to go past a certain perimeter. The officers somehow managed to miss the 14, yes, 14 highly visible signs on Bailey's property -- warning visitors about his dogs.
“The deputies appeared to make some sort of quasi-tactical approach upon the home, passing numerous private property and beware of dogs lighted signs, and then circle back to the front of the home, where they begin to bang their flashlights upon the bedroom window of one of the Bailey children’s bedroom window while attempting to call and lure out one of the Bailey family dogs,” the lawsuit continued.
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As the body camera footage begins, the officers are knocking on the door to Bailey's residence when three dogs begin barking and walk around from the side of the house.
“They panicked and they know they panicked and they shot an innocent dog and I’m mad," Bailey said at the time.
"For safety reasons, the officers parked away from the mobile home and knocked on the side of the residence. Three unrestrained dogs ran from back of the property with one pit bull charging the officers," the sheriff's department news release stated.
However, the dogs were restrained—with shock collars—and the deputies ignored the excessive signs telling them this.
“Those dogs were protecting those kids and this house. If I had been home it wouldn’t have happened," said Bailey as he noted the officer shot his dog as it ran away.
The department is remaining steadfast in their decision to enter the property and kill the dog. According to WBIR 10, Knox County Sheriff J.J. Jones said the shooting was "clean."
“It was legit,” he told WBIR 10News. “They were rushing them. They were very aggressive. (The deputies) had to protect themselves.”
Apparently, the sheriff missed the part of the video in which the rounds were fired in the direction of the home—occupied by innocent children.
Despite originally claiming that the incident was under investigation, KCSO spokeswoman Martha Dooley said Tuesday no internal investigation of the incident was conducted.