A federal jury awarded a Chicago family $333,000 after Chicago police officers shot and killed Lady, a ten-year-old black Labrador during a police raid in 2009. Lady exhibited no signs of aggression toward the officers according to their family.
The Chicago Tribune reported,
Teenage brothers Thomas and Darren Russell were in their second-floor apartment in the 9200 block of South Justine Street in February 2009 when officers announced they had a warrant to search both units of the two-flat. Thomas Russell, then 18, opened the door and found officers with their guns drawn, according to the lawsuit. Russell said that he put his hands in the air and asked permission to lock up his 9-year-old black Labrador, Lady, before they entered.
Police refused the request and came into the house, the lawsuit said. When Lady came loping around the corner with her tail wagging, Officer Richard Antonsen shot the dog, according to the suit, which alleged excessive force, false arrest and illegal seizure for taking the dog’s life.
Sadly, cases like this are not unique. Countless dogs are killed each year by police and law enforcement officials. Many of these wrongful shootings arise out of fear and mistaken signs of aggression.
Dozens of people have come together to remember and memorialize the dogs who have been unnecessarily killed by law enforcement. (check out: Mr. Policeman, Don’t Shoot My Dog, Justice for Dakota, and Dogs Shot By Police.)
These communities also exist to share ideas about how to minimize police shootings of dogs and to support legislation and changes in the law that seek to increase the penalty for this crime. Wrongful killing of dogs could be greatly reduced by providing proper training to police about basic dog behavior and the signs of aggressive vs friendly dog behavior, and teaching ways to subdue aggressive dogs in a non-lethal manner.
Our heart goes out to Lady and her family.