I would like to expand on a recent incident that I briefly mentioned in my last blog posting. Recently an Austin Police Officer that was responding to a domestic disturbance shot and killed a man's dog after responding to the wrong address. One of the owner's friends created a facebook page entitled "Justice for Cisco" and today it has over 100,000 followers. If you look at the picture below, you will note that it has only been little over a week since this incident occurred.
Many things pertaining to law enforcement have occurred because of this incident and the facebook page that has been created for it. First and foremost, a law enforcement officer shot and killed a dog while apprehending a man that wasn't even who he was looking for. Is this a normal error? The police officer responded to the wrong address, and these are the events that unfolded because of that. Man walks out of house, officer draws weapon, man leans obediantly against his car, dog comes running and barking from backyard, officer fires one shot, striking the dog in the chest and instantly killing him. What are the issues with this?
It is mentioned that the Chief of Police himself apologized to the dog's owner after a great amount of public outcry. The facebook page has generated a lot of positive support for the owner, but it has also generated a lot of negative feedback for the police department. In the news article addressing the issues of threats on the police department, the Chief mentions the death of a police officer on April the 6th. He explains that the whole department is still reeling from the death. I personally believe this is a negative way of responding to the issue. The underlying implications are that high nerves in the police department are what caused the incidental death. I don't think that is the proper way of responding to an outraged public about the death of a dog. Now, I do agree that a human death is very important, I'm not downplaying that. I just think there could have been a better way of speaking to an animal loving community on the issue.
The main point of my article is supposed to be about facebook and the type of postive/negative feedback it can fuel in certain circumstances. I feel for the man who lost his dog, and I also agree that the officer acted too harshly in shooting the animal. It didn't help his case that he had responded to the wrong house. The facebook page has generated so much publicity that the officer has been reprimanded, the department has received may threats from the public, and the owner has been all over the news because of this. Sad thing is, these types of incidents happen more often than you think, BUT because of facebook, thousands of people know, a department has been harrassed, and an officer has been reassigned because of the amount of attention the case is getting.