Bodycam footage shows cop shooting pit bull twice after neighbors reported dog on the loose
After receiving backlash for using excessive force, the authorities claimed that the officer was in danger when he shot the dog and published footage of the incident
WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT
A woman's dog was severely injured after a Grand Rapids Police officer shot at it when it charged at him early Friday morning. Sgt. Catherine Williams said that officers responded to a call at 2.15 am from a pedestrian about an aggressive dog on the loose. “When we arrived, the dog was still on scene, loose and pacing between four houses,” Williams said. “When officers tried to entice the dog, it charged.”
Officers at the scene tried to find the owner by attempting to contact multiple nearby homes, but in vain. At the time of the incident, Shequelle Robinson, the dog's legal owner, was at work. She was called by a neighbor who informed her of the police presence around her residence and told her that they shot her dog.
“We attempted a snare twice, but both times were unsuccessful,” Williams said. “The second time, the officer fell backwards onto the ground, dropping the snare and, from the ground, shot the dog from only a few feet away as it was charging him."
The victim was a five-year-old pit bull named Youneek. He was shot in the face and chest.
After receiving backlash for using excessive force, GRPD decided to publish the graphic body cam footage from the incident on Facebook, Fox 17 reports.
After he was shot, Youneek was immediately rushed to the emergency vet. At the time, Animal Control had to be called in order to snare the injured pet.
“When they finally brought her to me, I thought she was dead,” said Robinson. “She's in pretty bad condition. Her leg has to be amputated now.”
However, according to Savonna Brown, a neighbor who witnessed the heartbreaking incident, Youneek is not an aggressive dog.
“[The officer] was flashing [a light] and it got her attention, and she realized he was moving towards her,” Brown said. “That’s when she came towards him. And then she got on the other side of the street and that’s when he shot towards her.”
Williams revealed that Robinson was later cited for allowing a dog to run at large, the Detroit Free Press reports.
Having said that, the medical costs incurred have been mostly covered by Michele Schaut, who runs a nonprofit organization called Michele’s Rescue. She even set up a fundraising page on GoFundMe to cover the bills from Youneek's treatment, which have already crossed $2,000. A bullet is still lodged in her leg, according to an X-ray scan.
“She’s a disabled dog now that we have to attend to,” said Robinson. “So I don’t know what the other expenses are going to be.”
The injured animal was first taken to BluePearl Veterinary Partners on Michigan Street NE for "extensive medical treatment" before being transferred to Wilson Veterinary Hospital in Romeo, Michigan "to cut the costs of her surgery", according to the GoFundMe page. It also states that the Pit bull had to undergo "emergency amputation" after the shooting.
Although the bodycam footage presents no evidence of foul play, Robinson says, "The police need to pay for what they did. It was not justifiable for them to shoot her when she’s on her own property. I want justice for my dog."
While quite a few angry neighbors claimed the dog was not aggressive until the cops approached with lights shining, the GRPD recounts a different story on its Facebook.
"After 30 minutes of trying to entice/snare the dog, attempting to identify and contact an owner — including phone calls to each house — and after the dog charged at an unsuspecting neighbor exiting his house, (the) officer shot twice at the dog as it charged the officer in the street." the statement reads, without mentioning the identity of the officer involved in the incident. "The dog is fortunately still alive and has been reunited with its owner," the Grand Rapids police added.