Minneapolis, MN - As TFTP reported in 2017, a Minneapolis police officer was seen on video jumping the fence of an innocent family's home and shooting their two beloved service dogs. Now, after police refused to hold their officers accountable for the shooting of the service dogs, the family is going after the department in the form of a lawsuit.
As TFTP has noted, if citizens kill police dogs, it's practically considered murder, and the suspects are charged with felonious assault on a police officer (dog). But since police wear a badge, they can kill our pets at will with hardly any ramifications.
In 2017, Jennifer LeMay did her part to protect her home and property by installing security cameras, and we're glad she did because the shooting of her two dogs was caught on those cameras. In the family's new lawsuit, filed earlier this month, LeMay alleges that after police shot her two dogs, the department attempted to cover it up by filing a false report.
After shooting the dogs, Minneapolis police officer Michael Mays wrote in his report that “two large size pit bulls charged at” him. However, from the video, we can clearly see that this is a lie.
LeMay’s attorney Mike Padden agrees, calling that characterization a “baldfaced lie.”
Furthermore, the dogs are not pitbulls, they are highly trained service dogs.
The two Staffordshire Terriers, Cisco and Rocko are owned by LeMay and her four children, and have been in the family since they were puppies. They're therapy dogs, prescribed by a physician to help LeMay's two sons who struggle with severe anxiety.
The incident unfolded when the LeMay family was camping in Wisconsin. Two of the children, both teenage girls, 13 and 18, wanted to come home early because the elder had to get back to work at a local fast food restaurant. They arrived home at around 8:42 pm Saturday, but when they did, they accidentally triggered their own security alarm.
The security company was notified that it was a false alarm, and the alarm was canceled at 8:54. But police were already on their way to the LeMay residence. One of the two responding officers stayed in the front yard while another officer scaled the 7ft high fence in the back.
That's when he met Cisco and Rocko. From the video, the officer can be seen drawing his weapon as the dogs slowly approached while one is seen wagging his tail.
The officer didn't kneel or offer an extended hand for Cisco to smell him, he simply pointed his gun at the dog and fired. Cisco wasn't even charging at the officer when he was shot. Rocko came just as quickly, and he, too, was hit with the officer's spray of bullets.
“The perception that a single dog presents a life-threatening danger to a healthy adult male who is wearing a thick uniform and bullet-proof vest is objectively unreasonable,” the lawsuit states, claiming the officer acted entirely irrational when he shot the dogs.
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After he shot the dogs, the officer then did what he probably should have done before he opened fire. As the two dogs were laying, bleeding, and badly injured, the officer jumped back over the fence. Why he did not first attempt to retreat is anyone's guess.
Adding to the horrific nature of the shooting, the 13-year-old girl watched as the officer in the backyard shot both of her dogs, leaving her severely traumatized.
As the Star Tribune reports, the officers unlawfully entered the property, the suit continues, and inflicted severe emotional damage on the family, resulting in one of LeMay’s children spending seven months in therapy. The gunshots also permanently altered the dogs, rendering them unable to serve as support animals, according to the suit. They are now family pets.
After his partner shot the dogs, the officer who was in the front of the home, Daniel Ledman, then did what he should have done in the beginning. He knocked on the front door.
The LeMay's said the officers told them not to transport the dogs to the hospital because animal control would be coming over to get them—but they never came.
Later that night, they were able to get the pets the much-needed surgery and medical care they should have gotten immediately following the shooting. According to the Star Tribune;
Both dogs went to the emergency vet Saturday night. Ciroc was shot in the jaw, Rocko in the side, face and shoulder. So far, LeMay has paid $900 for Ciroc and brought him home; he still needs $5,000 to $7,000 worth of surgery at the University of Minnesota, she said. Rocko came home Sunday night. A GoFundMe page was established to help LeMay pay her vet bills.
After the incident, the police department sent over a supervisor to talk with the family, Lt. Derrick Barnes. And while they say he was as contrite as he could be, the pain is still very real and fresh for the family who had to watch their dogs as they suffered through a long and painful recovery.
The pain, anguish, and anger can be sensed in LeMay's comments when she spoke with reporters.
He was wagging his tail...My dog wasn’t even moving, lunging toward him or anything...My dogs were doing their job on my property...We have a right to be safe in our yard.
LeMay is also naming Xfinity in the suit for failing to notify the police that the alarm was tripped accidentally. As TFTP reported earlier this month, alarm companies failing to properly notify police is a dangerously common error which can lead to deadly interactions with cops.