Sacramento, CA — As TFTP reported, last December, a Sacramento security guard and an innocent man got early Christmas presents from a California cop in the form of a bullet after the cop tried to kill the innocent man’s dog outside a Safeway grocery store. Now, because the cop was never held accountable for his actions, the taxpayers of Sacramento are footing the bill.
It was reported this week that Kevin Cole — the innocent man whose dog was shot by police and who was hit with the same round — received a $99,000 settlement.
“The city had been working toward a fair and reasonable resolution to this case and feels that was achieved with this settlement,” city spokesman Tim Swanson said in an email to the Sacramento Bee.
The incident all started when a security guard at the grocery store called police over Cole’s refusal to leave the front of the store. The store thought Cole was homeless but he was not.
“It’s another example of an outrageous police response to a rather simple situation,” said Mark Merin, a longtime civil rights lawyer who represented Cole in the case.
Cole has a neurological disorder and it takes him a while to get around. According to Merin, on the day in question, Cole had just finished shopping and was putting his groceries in his backpack so he could take the light rail home.
“But he was perceived to be a homeless vagrant and it was on that basis they were strong-arming him and trying to hustle him off the property and that’s what led to the ridiculous use of force,” Merin said.
Security called the cops and the cops resorted to deadly force.
As the video shows, when the cop moves in Cole begins screaming in the video for an explanation as to why he was being detained.
“Why are you doing this?…I live here!,” Cole can be heard saying among other statements. He can also be heard saying he’s disabled and again begged to be let go, left alone, and that the security guard was lying about any alleged incident.
The officer who was attempting to subdue the perceived-homeless man reportedly got frightened by Cole’s dog while the police contact occurred. To the first officer’s credit, he demonstrated restraint, even patience after being bit by the dog. He repeatedly told Cole he did not want to “shoot” his dog. He even asked the man to get control of the dog even though it was on a leash. How that could be possible to do is anyone’s guess as the cop seemed to be placing his whole weight on the man’s body.
Only after other officers arrived did the potentially deadly use of force escalate. Two more officers arrived in squad cars, aggressively joining the attempts by the other officer to effect an arrest. That’s when the dog’s demeanor seemed to change.
A bystander, possibly the security guard who initiated the call to police, kicked the dog to shoo it away from the cops. That action seemed to anger the dog who began to bark more aggressively. That’s when one cop took two steps backward into the alley, drew his service pistol, and shot at the dog. The bullet fragmented into shrapnel and struck Cole in the face and the security guard in the leg.
“You shot me, you shot me in the eye, dude,” says Cole
Bystanders who witnessed the incident claimed police had other options such as pepper spray, a taser, or even the need to call animal control to subdue the dog. Or, cops could’ve just listened to Cole tell them that he had a neurological condition and let him be. Sadly, none of those actions were taken.
Unlike the first on-scene officer, the responding officer wasted no time in shooting at a dog in a crowded area, ultimately wounding two humans and reportedly striking the dog in the hind leg. The men, however, were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The complaint named the city of Sacramento, its Police Department, Police Chief Daniel Hahn and officers Justin Shepard and George Martinez as defendants. Both officers are still employed by the city, Swanson said.