Cat in Tree. Phx Officer "flashes" weapon to defend property?


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.45&TKD
December 30, 2008, 02:01 PM
http://www.abc15.com/content/news/phoenixmetro/story/Phoenix-officer-forbids-neighbor-to-get-cat-PD/uSDXo0vALEiuKVsvSvFUfA.cspx

Phoenix officer forbids neighbor to get cat, PD come to help
Reported by: Christina Boomer
Email: cboomer@abc15.com
Reported by: Jose Miguel
Last Update: 11:06 am

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"This guy comes barreling out of his house, flashed his gun and his badge, and started screaming and freaking out." Click the play button on the video window to the right to see the story

PHOENIX, AZ -- Brutis the cat is back home with his owner after going through a bit of a pickle. He had been stuck in a neighbor's tree for nine days, according to the owner.

And the cat's owner says a police officer may have been partly to blame.

The cat got away from his owner, Michael, last Sunday at a home near 12th Street and Bell Road. When Michael finally tracked Brutis down, he was stuck in the branches, two stories in the air, on his neighbor's property.

The neighbor is a Phoenix police officer.

Michael had tried to get the cat out with no luck. Animal Control told him they don't handle cats due to limited resources.

On Christmas morning, the Humane Society tried to rescue Brutis but said its ladders were not tall enough to reach him.

They also suggested Michael leave food and water at the base of the tree, something Michael said he couldn't do because his police officer neighbor would not let him back on the property.

"He said he wouldn't let us go back there and try and rescue the cat," Michael said.

Michael said the officer told him he was concerned that if someone got hurt while trying to get the cat on his property, he would be liable.

"He said no because of insurance," explained Michael.

A Phoenix Police spokesperson said the officer did what he could to help the cat.

Sgt. Tommy Thompson said the officer followed the direction of the Humane Society, taking his dog inside for a day, hoping the cat would come down on its own.

He said the Humane Society called the officer an "angel" who did all he could.

The Humane Society also told the officer they could not rescue the cat safely, according to Thompson.

However, another non-profit said on Monday they made an attempt to get Brutis out of the tree.

Toni Smith and Terry Toman are with Citizens for North Phoenix Strays.

"There's some friction here between these neighbors and I said I could care less about the people I just want to go up and get the cat," said Smith.

Smith and Toman said they chose to go behind the home on a public sidewalk and lean a 25-foot ladder against his back wall.

In this way, they figured they were not on his property.

Just as they were about to get the cat, Smith said, "This guy comes barreling out of his house, flashed his gun and his badge, and started screaming and freaking out."

Toman added, "It's a little overkill".

ABC15 tried to speak with the officer to get his side of the story, but he said to call police.

The Phoenix Police Department said their officer had a right to defend his property.

They added that there was no way the officer could have known whether Smith and Toman were intruders or not.

It seems like I just have to sit here and watch my cat starve to death or freeze to death, Michael said.

Both Smith and Toman said they were willing to sign a waiver guaranteeing they would not sue the officer or hold him liable if they should hurt themselves while rescuing Brutis.

Its just a cat in a tree, why cant we just go there and get the cat and move on, Smith said.

Late Tuesday morning, Michael said police officers arrived at the home and rescued the cat using a ladder. It's unclear whose property they were on during the rescue.

Sgt. Thompson said Phoenix Police don't normally rescue cats from trees, but said calls to the Police Chief's office prompted the move to get the cat down from the tree.

Brutis is now safe and doing well -- and out of the tree.


I think if a non-LEO in Phoenix drew their weapon to defend their property perimeter for any reason other than arson, there would be hell to pay. I guess some animals are more equal than others.

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hso
December 30, 2008, 02:07 PM
So what's the legal question here or is this just a "idiot with a gun" story?

Treo
December 30, 2008, 02:08 PM
How is this gun related?
How is it Legal related?
How long before it gets locked?

.45&TKD
December 30, 2008, 02:21 PM
Lock it if you want.

As a AZ CCW holder I was taught that in this state you are not allowed to used deadly force to defend your property except in the case of arson. I thought that it was interesting that the Phoenix PD was quoting the opposite to what the law is, defending one of their own.

Displaying or "flashing" or drawing a weapon because someone "steps" on your property is overkill and would normally be considered aggravated assault if a non-LEO were to do that.

da3394
December 30, 2008, 02:57 PM
Sounds like an idiot brandishing a firearm.

expvideo
December 30, 2008, 03:05 PM
Sounds like an idiot brandishing a firearm.
Sounds to me like the "victim" here was the only one committing a crime. He was trespassing on the officer's property after he had been told not to. I have a feeling from the rest of this story that our poor victim may be exagerating the whole "flashing a gun" part of the story. In fact, he tries so hard to make his trespassing look reasonable, and the cop's actions look unreasonable, that I would bet you a donut that "flashing a gun" meant that the cop had a gun in his holster and a badge clipped onto his belt, while in plain clothes.

nalioth
December 30, 2008, 03:10 PM
Sounds like an idiot brandishing a firearm.
Sounds to me like the "victim" here was the only one committing a crime. He was trespassing on the officer's property after he had been told not to. I have a feeling from the rest of this story that our poor victim may be exagerating the whole "flashing a gun" part of the story. In fact, he tries so hard to make his trespassing look reasonable, and the cop's actions look unreasonable, that I would bet you a donut that "flashing a gun" meant that the cop had a gun in his holster and a badge clipped onto his belt, while in plain clothes.

Reading is fundamental.
Toni Smith and Terry Toman are with Citizens for North Phoenix Strays. It was two volunteers who the cop went off on, not the neighbor.

kingpin008
December 30, 2008, 04:32 PM
Seems to me that the officer has every right to tell the guy and the "rescuers" to bug off. He's perfectly justified in worrying about insurance and injuries, and if they don't like that, tough.

And just because the rescuers "figured" that they were OK to try to access the cat with a ladder that was footed on public property, it was still leaning against the officer's back wall. That's not public property.

At that point, these people had been told numerous times to stay off his property, yet they continued to try to access the property anyway. I'd pull a gun too.

Zundfolge
December 30, 2008, 04:39 PM
I'd pull a gun too.
I think the argument here isn't whether its reasonable to draw a weapon to defend your property (and its not clear to me the officer was pointing at anyone), the argument here is whether a non-LEO type person were to do the same thing as the officer would they be in trouble?

rondog
December 30, 2008, 04:53 PM
It's a cat. Cats go UP trees. Cats go DOWN trees. Cats hunt birds in trees. Cats don't get STUCK in trees. ***.

Thin Black Line
December 30, 2008, 04:57 PM
The problem here isn't a gun...it's trees in Phoenix.

cassandrasdaddy
December 30, 2008, 05:14 PM
"the argument here is whether a non-LEO type person were to do the same thing as the officer would they be in trouble?"

not in texas

hso
December 30, 2008, 05:27 PM
So the point is that AZ allows use of a firearm to defend property against arson, but there's a report in the story that the resident "flashed" a firearm while telling trespassers to get off his property. It didn't say that he shot them nor did it even say that he actually brandished a firearm. The phrase used was "flashed his gun and his badge". It doesn't say if he took it out of the holster or if he had it in his hand. It could have just as easily meant that he had the weapon holstered on his belt with his badge and made it obvious that he had both.

It's a news story without a clear enough picture of whether any law, except trespass, was broken. If the home owner had shot the trespassers there would be a legal question to discuss. If the homeowner had brandished the weapon there would be a legal question to discuss. The story gives us enough information to know the former didn't take place, but not enough to tell if the latter actually occurred.

.45&TKD
December 30, 2008, 05:39 PM
The Phoenix Police Department said their officer had a right to defend his property.

The point is AZ is not Texas. We don't have the right to defend property here except in the case of arson. The police said that he had the right to defend his property, which is not only incorrect but suggests that he did more than come out open carrying with a badge.

To me, this guy sounds like a lawsuit waiting to happen.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 05:43 PM
No, this is just the police department sticking up for their own. Had it been anyone else, he'd have been arrested for recklessly brandishing a firearm. This cop needs to be fired.

CoRoMo
December 30, 2008, 05:47 PM
It seems to be a slow day on THR.

Lock-time should be almost instantaneous.

kingpin008
December 30, 2008, 05:49 PM
Cats don't get STUCK in trees.

You've obviously never been the owner of an otherwise-indoor cat that suddenly decided to "explore" the great outdoors and bit off a little more than it could chew. ;)

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 05:50 PM
As I before stated, it's still illegal to brandish a firearm in Arizona. The police officer broke the law, plain and simple.

withdrawn34
December 30, 2008, 06:10 PM
* His liability concerns were completely justified, and he did everything he could.
* If the other guys came on the property without telling him first, that's invasion of property and there's no way he knew WHO they were. Although one shouldn't go outside to meet the intruder, his response is still understandable.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 06:21 PM
If he had a liability concern, all he had to do was take 5 minutes and write up a contract releasing him and have all present parties sign it. Fact is, he was just being a jerk. He was power tripping on the badge.

Treo
December 30, 2008, 06:30 PM
Yaaaaawwwwwwnnnnn ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

CoRoMo
December 30, 2008, 06:32 PM
+++++++1 Treo!!

cassandrasdaddy
December 30, 2008, 06:33 PM
If he had a liability concern, all he had to do was take 5 minutes and write up a contract releasing him and have all present parties sign it. Fact is, he was just being a jerk. He was power tripping on the badge


why do you imagine he has to do that?


and what kinda badge do the citizens for strays folks carry? that allow em to go on folks property

rscalzo
December 30, 2008, 06:45 PM
illegal to brandish a firearm in Arizona

While on your own property. Laws must be really screwed up there.

If he had a liability concern, all he had to do was take 5 minutes and write up a contract

He didn't want them on his property. Why should he have to do any such thing? They were told to stay off the property. Anything less is a Trespass charge. Besides, the contract wouldn't be worth the paper it was printed on.

The "flashing" comment came from a somewhat "biased" witness.

WardenWolf
December 30, 2008, 06:50 PM
You can DRAW a firearm as necessary, but to run out waving it around just because someone is in your yard is another matter. There's nothing screwed out about it. It's common sense.

cassandrasdaddy
December 30, 2008, 06:54 PM
but to run out waving it around just because someone is in your yard is another matter.

did someone claim he waved his gun?i can't find that claim. or are you just into kittys?

EmGeeGeorge
December 30, 2008, 06:55 PM
Its "plain an simple" there isn't enough info to make any sort of judgement about the situation... it doesn't say he pointed a gun, brandished... It says a person in his backyard made a statement that he flashed badge and gun... two ppl he didn't know were in his yard... he didn't a.) shoot thru a door not knowing who was on the other side (something I've seen ppl say was okay on THIS SITE) b> b.)shoot the gun into the air to ward them off or c.) shoot the cat out of the tree as "cats can be dangerous and blah blah blah" as I again have seen board members advocate in past threads... I can almost hear the mouth breathing thru my hi-speed connection...

.45&TKD
December 30, 2008, 07:53 PM
I think we know enough to conclude that this officer has very questionable judgement and has an inability to solve simple social conflicts. He should not have a badge.

cassandrasdaddy
December 30, 2008, 08:04 PM
I imagine we know enough to conclude that this officer has very questionable judgement and has an inability to solve simple social conflicts. He should not have a badge.

withdrawn34
December 30, 2008, 08:31 PM
I'm not sure I'm really following what people are saying here.

So maybe let's ask another question:

If you were the officer, what would YOU have done differently?

Treo
December 30, 2008, 09:28 PM
Shot the cat out of the tree

kingpin008
December 30, 2008, 09:38 PM
If you were the officer, what would YOU have done differently?

Assuming that I didn't want them on my property (as the officer obviously didn't) I'd tell them to stay the hell off my property, and if they continued, I'd call the cops. If they continued, I'd do what was necessary to keep them from accessing my property. If that means pulling my gun (or making it visible) then so be it. If they're not going to take the hint that they have no right to be there, and that I'm a police officer telling them to stay away, then there's no telling what kind of mental midget I'm dealing with. Best to make one's intentions acutely clear in that case, imho.

EmGeeGeorge
December 31, 2008, 10:31 AM
here's a quick story; lived in everett, wa(actually just outside city limits,south side)... last years there were a string of car breakins, thefts, a shooting or two within two hundred yards of my house... One night I hear some malarky in the lot... Its 2 am, I was known for being helpful and looking out after my property and my neighbors as well... I went outside pistol in holster, open carried kydex job... I see dopers in an unfamiliar beater car, sitting in the darkest corner of lot... I very visibly flip open my phone, dial 911 and the dopers see me... see phone (by its light I presume) maybe see my gun... and poof! they disappear! (never saw that car again either) I didn't point the gun... the gun was in the open, I was carrying it... "open carry"... this being said... I wasn't lookin to zip anyone, wasnt waving a gun, was on with the operator transmitting the situation... I'm sure by the time said methheads told their fellow scum-of-the-earth "some crazy dude shot like 5 shots at us and chased us outta the lot... we were just smoking meth"...
If you ever have the occasion to shoot someone who most likely deserves it (thief, rapo, robber, what have you) hope I or someone like me is on your jury if it comes to that, cause whether your a cop or a carpenter, righteous shoot has nothing to do with where you are, Texas, Chicago, or where ever...
guy had every right to confront suspicious folks on his property...

expvideo
December 31, 2008, 10:53 AM
Who's story do you trust more? The people who were knowingly trespassing, or the cop? Not that being a cop automatically makes someone credible, but admitting to trespassing and not seeing the problem with it says a lot about the character of these poeple.

I'll bet you that the badge and gun were on the cop's belt. He probably opened his coat to flash the badge and let them know that they were trespassing on a cop's property, so if they didn't leave he would arrest them. The gun was probably right behind the badge, and these people, not seeing the problem with their lawlessness, thought they would try to make the cop look like the bad guy in this situation. I highly doubt that this encounter went as badly as they are trying to make it sound, and I would trust the judgement of this cop over the trespassers, who should have been arrested.


here's a quick story; lived in everett, wa(actually just outside city limits,south side)... last years there were a string of car breakins, thefts, a shooting or two within two hundred yards of my house... One night I hear some malarky in the lot... Its 2 am, I was known for being helpful and looking out after my property and my neighbors as well... I went outside pistol in holster, open carried kydex job... I see dopers in an unfamiliar beater car, sitting in the darkest corner of lot... I very visibly flip open my phone, dial 911 and the dopers see me... see phone (by its light I presume) maybe see my gun... and poof! they disappear! (never saw that car again either) I didn't point the gun... the gun was in the open, I was carrying it... "open carry"... this being said... I wasn't lookin to zip anyone, wasnt waving a gun, was on with the operator transmitting the situation... I'm sure by the time said methheads told their fellow scum-of-the-earth "some crazy dude shot like 5 shots at us and chased us outta the lot... we were just smoking meth"...
If you ever have the occasion to shoot someone who most likely deserves it (thief, rapo, robber, what have you) hope I or someone like me is on your jury if it comes to that, cause whether your a cop or a carpenter, righteous shoot has nothing to do with where you are, Texas, Chicago, or where ever...
guy had every right to confront suspicious folks on his property...

Hey, that's where I live. Nice little town, huh?

marsofold
January 1, 2009, 10:32 AM
Just chop down the tree! :rolleyes:

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