Officer shoots dog. Officer admits after the fact that he/she overreacted and shot at said dog prior to it ever “lunging” or whatever else they always say. Will this ever happen?
Two L.A. County sheriff’s detectives went to a Lawndale home at 9:30pm on 1/26 to discuss “some tickets and a court date” with an individual living at the residence. The person they wanted to speak with lived in the front house. He was allegedly inside but was listening to loud music at the time. The officers then walked around back and ended up entering a closed off gated fence area that surrounded a back house, which was a totally separate residence. Knox, a 1-year-old black Cane Corso, was inside this gated area and was immediately struck down by multiple bullets without warning or a sound.
The department claims the dog “suddenly lunged at the officers, forcing the detective to fire numerous rounds that all struck the dog.” Lt. Ed Alvarez stated: “They were not bit because of their quick action. Basically, that was the end of the story.” Deputy Crystal Hernandez said: “At some point, the dog lunged and was going to attack one of the detectives. Unfortunately, they had to shoot the dog. It’s unfortunate that the dog had to die. No one wants to do that.”
Ronald Padilla, Knox’s owner, says this is just not true. He went outside to confront the officers and start to record the aftermath of the incident. They had begun going through the yard trying to find the bullet casings that they had just unloaded into Knox. Knox lay dying in the grass, lifting his head up and down and gasping for air. The officers did nothing but walk back and forth throughout the yard, ignoring the dog that was still alive. Another officer who arrived later suggested that Padilla file a complaint so that he could potentially get reimbursed to buy a new dog, as if it was an inanimate object or something.
Why were they going out to ask non-urgent questions of someone at 9:30 at night, nearly 4 hours after it was dark in Lawndale? Why did they go back to the second residence at all? Why did they enter the closed fence of a residence that didn’t even house the person that they wanted to talk to? Why did they let loose an array of bullets into an unsuspecting dog? Why did they continue with their investigative business while the dog was left alive and without assistance from them, basically suffering in the yard?
We get no answers to any of those things. But anytime that a dog is shot by a law enforcement officer it is almost universally characterized after the fact as being the dog’s fault. The dog “lunged.” The dog “attacked.” The dog was acting “threatening.” At what point will a department, any department, ever put out anything other than this retreaded explanation? As is standard, Knox is being blamed for his own death. It’s not fair. Conveniently, there was no recording from any body camera because the officers probably weren’t wearing them. Those things would solve a lot. In a case like this and in a lot of other cases, too.