Cookeville agrees to $77,500 for police killing a family's pet


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2nd Amendment
November 22, 2004, 01:58 PM
''COOKEVILLE (AP) -- The City of Cookeville will pay a family whose dog was shot by police $77,000 as part of a settlement.

Two years ago, the Smoak family of Saluda, N.C., were wrongly targeted as thieves by police who pulled their car over and handcuffed them. [ family dog shot ] (http://www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?s=1073712)

Their dog escaped the vehicle after police ignored their pleas to shut the car door.

The settlement in the lawsuit against the city of Cookeville and the police officer who leveled his shotgun at the canine came this week in District Court.

The city admitted no wrongdoing.

The traffic stop that prompted the lawsuit was captured by a video camera inside an officer's patrol car. The action was seen around the world and sparked thousands of complaints to state officials.

A case against the Tennessee Highway Patrol case may also be headed for a settlement, said Mary Parker, attorney for the Smoaks. ''


www.wate.com/Global/story.asp?S=2595979

I'd say it's a shame the people of the city will be the ones who actually pay this in the long run, but they are the people who allow these individuals to be cops in their community so, in the end, they are just as responsible as the clown who pulled the trigger.

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BigG
November 22, 2004, 02:51 PM
:what:

Tory
November 22, 2004, 03:07 PM
It could have settled the matter quietly and inexpensively, had it been intelligent instead of arrogant and incompetent - but then, the same can be said of its police officer.

Now its irresponsible and callous action is - again - international news AND it has to pay far more than it could have settled for, especially when one includes the tax dollars the city wasted paying its attorneys to defend a clearly wrong action.

The good news is, it may serve as a warning to other such departments. :mad:

CentralTexas
November 22, 2004, 04:09 PM
I remeber this case and the video well, seemed too quick on the trigger.
A family pet killed in front of kids in that manner was very damaging for them to witness. From the BATFE stomping family pets to a recent local shooting it seems that too often pets are killed with no worries as most courts view them as property of little value.
Sometimes a vicious dog may need to be shot but that dog was wagging it's tail and certainly didn't appear to be in attack mode.
CT

Battlespace
November 22, 2004, 04:24 PM
IMHO the trigger happy cop should have to pay it.

2nd Amendment
November 22, 2004, 05:27 PM
Just as an aside someone on another forum told me today about a local cop shooting...wait for it...a family's pet turkey recently. Claimed it appeared threatening. :) Hopefully they'll come up with an online link for that story but even if they don't it's just too silly to be a lie. :)

Highland Ranger
November 22, 2004, 05:55 PM
Threatening or TASTY?!

2nd Amendment
November 22, 2004, 05:57 PM
Well, I suppose that would depend on whether the officer left the corpse or carted it away for "further investigation". :)

Lone_Gunman
November 22, 2004, 05:59 PM
I remember the case also, and I think the officers involved were very out of line.

The punishment (ie, the payout by the city to the family) doesn't fit the wrongdoing by the officer.

Appropriate punishment would have been for the police man to lose his job, and be forbidden to carry a badge again.

It was a dog this time, but next time it could just as easily be a person.

Grey54956
November 22, 2004, 06:39 PM
No. The punishment does fit the crime. Most of the time I would agree that this is too high a figure, but I've been doing some thinking.

It was the city that hired the officers in question. It was the city that gave them badges and authority. It was the city who incorrectly trusted the officers involved with the public safety and well-being. The city needs to be punished to such an extent as it actually stings a little.

While $77G seems a bit much, the city will feel it. Maybe the city will be a little more careful next time.

Standing Wolf
November 22, 2004, 07:14 PM
The city admitted no wrongdoing.

Government never does.

Lone_Gunman
November 22, 2004, 07:35 PM
Grey54956,

I think you miss my point.

The $70,000 the city is paying is not punishing the right people. The inidividual involved in the problem, and his superiors should have been just flat out punished in some way, whether it was by job loss or making them personally pay.

All that happened here is that tax payers will have to foot the bill. The actual wrong-doers don't get punished at all.

Pilgrim
November 22, 2004, 08:35 PM
The $70,000 the city is paying is not punishing the right people. The inidividual involved in the problem, and his superiors should have been just flat out punished in some way, whether it was by job loss or making them personally pay.

It is extremely rare, even if punitive damages are assessed on an individual officer, to get that officer to pay. Most employing government agencies will pay the officer's punitive assessment because they know if they don't, the officer will turn around and sue the city for not properly training him to handle the situation that turned bad.

Pilgrim

Carlos
November 22, 2004, 10:48 PM
Darn shame, Officer Hall didn't have to pay this, yup.

Man, I'm glad this one is over. The morons could have settled this long ago. After seeing the interview with the officer, where he's saying the dog 'didn't obey lawful commands, and I was in fear....', I've never been more disgusted with LEO mentalities such as his (have LEO in family, etc., so don't go there).

Officer Hall should not be an officer of the law.

And, I've seen all the LEO smearing against the family who was mistakenly pulled over "Felony style" over on a gunboard I won't mention. Amazing stuff.

:(

Lone_Gunman
November 23, 2004, 08:49 AM
It is extremely rare, even if punitive damages are assessed on an individual officer, to get that officer to pay

Then fire his butt and get rid of the problem entirely.

ACORN
November 23, 2004, 10:53 AM
Just wondering, are police officers immune from civil suits?

Boats
November 23, 2004, 04:47 PM
Generally speaking, yes they are. As long as they were acting within the course and scope of their employment, they enjoy what is called indemnification which in plain English merely means that though they may be found personally responsible for their misdeeds, any judgement will be paid by the government.

jnojr
November 23, 2004, 06:46 PM
Just as an aside someone on another forum told me today about a local cop shooting...wait for it...a family's pet turkey recently. Claimed it appeared threatening.

Sounds like someone who's never been chased by an irate tom! :) Trust me... if you had a gun, and one of those things came after you, you'd shoot it, too.

jnojr
November 23, 2004, 06:50 PM
Just wondering, are police officers immune from civil suits?

Hell, no! Cops and lawsuits are like Marines and overseas duty... there are cops who have been sued, cops who are being sued, and cops who will be sued. In practice, their employers (usually) handle their defense and pay out any awards. But that doesn't stop the officers themselves (and everyone else within earshot) being named defendants/respondants.

taliv
November 23, 2004, 07:57 PM
the situation sucked all the way around
on the whole though, the cops here are not your usual pet-stompers

-resident of cookeville

joebogey
November 23, 2004, 08:19 PM
{Sounds like someone who's never been chased by an irate tom! Trust me... if you had a gun, and one of those things came after you, you'd shoot it, too}

Not only will you shoot, but should you miss, you'll find a need to kick, stomp, fight with your fists, swing sticks, and throw rocks. They don't give up easily.

Jeeper
November 23, 2004, 08:22 PM
I am really happy that someone had to pay for this. Even though it was the city, the police will end up changing their policy. Didnt this cop have a history of killing pets also? Maybe i am remembering wrong.

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