Irmo Police Chief Defends Officer Shooting Dog

6:03 PM, Sep 10, 2013   |    comments
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Irmo, SC (WLTX) -- The Irmo Police Chief is defending the actions of one of his officers who shot and killed a dog.

The officer shot and killed a German Shepard mix after he said he felt threatened. A group of Irmo residents are calling for the police officer to be fired, and the chief released the dash-cam video that he said explains the officer's actions.

"If the officer is defending himself or another person, he is allowed to use force to defend that person," said Irmo Police Chief Brian Buck. "And in this case, he was authorized to use deadly force."

On a 9-1-1 audio recording obtained by News19, a man is heard saying that "a black German-Shepard [is] prowling the neighborhood and just chased me while I was running."  

The police report from the incident lists a man as being out jogging in the neighborhood at about 8:40 a.m. He is also listed as the person filing the report.

Dash cam video released by Irmo Police shows the officer arriving on the scene as the dog can be seen running across the frame and ahead of the officer's car.

"He was well out of his yard," the caller continued. "I was across the street. I went down about three houses and he was still chasing me."

The police report states the dog was acting "aggressively" when the officer shot it, and Chief Buck said he stands behind his officer.

"The officer was trying to get back to his patrol car," said Chief Buck.

A petition effort was being mounted by two men who said they saw the initial reports about the shooting, and felt that something needed to be done about it.

"I think that maybe he overreacted," said Derrick Owens, one of the men, speaking to News19 with Zach Smith, the co-petitioner. "I feel like there are other measures that could have been taken."

They said they also run a Facebook page that memorializes the dog, named Kenya. The pair said they believed other options were available, pointing out that many officers also carry tasers with them.

"We feel like his actions definitely warrant his dismissal," Owens said, "but if they don't agree with that then we would just like some sort of change to happen, whether it's basic sensitivity training, give them some sort of new protocol."

Their petition had 738 signatures Tuesday evening. 

Smith and Owens said they were seeking 1000 signatures and planned to present them at an Irmo Town Council meeting Sept. 17.


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