Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dog shot to death by police officer in East Austin causes angry uproar from public (Video)

On Saturday, April 14, Austin Police Officer Thomas Griffin answered a domestic violence call in East Austin, which is deemed a “high crime” area by the media and Austin Police Department.

What happened next is in dispute by the responding officer, and the owner of a Blue Heeler  named Cisco. The officer told Michael Paxton--Cisco’s owner--the dog should have been on a leash, despite it being in Paxton’s back yard. There was no mention in the media if Griffin entered a locked gate, after which he was confronted by the dog.

I am not a dog owner but I know they  (dogs) are protective of their space and their owners, especially when a stranger encroaches on their marked territory. They tend to bark, growl and bare their teeth in a threatening manner. I think this is a dog’s way of telling a stranger to “back off.”

Whatever happened, Officer Griffin thought his life was in danger. According the police manual an officer can justifiably shoot and kill a dog (or human) if there is a perceived threat to an officer or any one else. Cisco was shot to death in its owner’s back yard.

Initially, Griffin pulled his gun on Paxton when he arrived at the resident.

Dog owners and lovers have bombarded the Austin Police Department since the shooting. Some have made threats, and writing emails, both of which are full of profanity and anger,  Police Chief Art Acevedo said during a press conference. People are writing angry responses on Facebook, causing the incident to go international. He says complainers have a developed a “mob mentality” about the shooting.

I was listening to a couple local radio jocks this morning and they were very upset. They said people were calling the show expressing extreme anger at the police officer. Some  callers said the officer could have maced the dog instead of killing it.

The conservative radio jocks justified the shooting, saying the officer was responding to a call in East Austin, a “high crime” area, where “those people” live. To them, both of whom are white, whoever is killed by the police in East Austin, it's justified. No questions need be asked.

Griffin said he had his patrol car video on, but shooting of the dog was out of  camera range. What has to be heartbreaking for Paxton is that Cisco did not have to die at the hands of Griffin, who answered a disturbance call at the wrong address. He was not supposed to be at Paxton’s house.

The Chief Acevedo said the shooting is under investigation. A local TV station investigated the “criminal history” of Cisco. Neither human nor pet misses media scrutiny in East Austin.

According to the Austin American Statesman, “Paxton has denied that Cisco behaved aggressively. KXAN  TV reported Wednesday that Animal Control records indicate that a man, who was not bitten, reported that Cisco was overly aggressive, and had charged him as he walked down the sidewalk. In another instance, the news station reported, a woman claimed that Cisco had bitten her as she tried to pet him in a parking lot."

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