Detroit Will Pay Out $60,000 To Woman Whose Dogs Were Shot On A Marijuana Raid

BY Herschel Smith
2 months ago

Reason:

The City of Detroit will pay out $60,000 to settle a federal civil rights lawsuit by a woman who says police wantonly shot and killed her three dogs during a marijuana raid three years ago.

The plaintiff, Nikita Smith, claimed in a 2016 lawsuit that officers from Detroit’s Major Violators Unit acted as a “dog death squad” when they executed a narcotics search warrant on her house for a suspected marijuana offense, shooting three of her pit bulls, including one that was behind a closed bathroom door. Extremely graphic photos entered into evidence in the case show bullet holes riddling the outside of the door and the dog dead inside the bathroom.

I covered this but the photos are so gruesome, offensive and disgusting that I don’t even want to link my piece.

Smith was arrested for marijuana possession, but the charges were later dropped when officers failed to appear in court.

The settlement is the latest in a string of costly payouts for Detroit due to dog shootings during drug raids. It also set new precedent in Fourth Amendment law. Detroit tried to argue that, since Smith’s dogs were unlicensed, in violation of Detroit’s municipal code, she had no legitimate property interest in them under the Fourth Amendment. The court rejected this argument.

Smith’s attorney, Chris Olson, calls the decision “a milestone in police-dog shooting cases that continue to plague the United States.

“The decision was significant because it denies police a ‘get out of jail free card’ if the deceased dog is later discovered to have been unlicensed,” he continues. “The decision is especially significant because the vast majority of dogs are unlicensed. The upshot is that the Fourth Amendment prohibits police officers from shooting dogs where the shooting is more intrusive than necessary, and citizens do not have to pay a dog license fee to enjoy their Fourth Amendment rights.”

A 2016 Reason investigation found that the department’s Major Violators Unit, which conducts drug raids across the city, has a nasty habit of leaving dead dogs in its wake and generating civil rights lawsuits. A follow-up investigation found that Detroit police shot 54 dogs in 2017, twice as many as Chicago.

Last year, Detroit paid $225,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by Kenneth Savage and Ashley Franklin, who claimed Detroit police officers shot their three dogs while the animals were enclosed behind an 8-foot-tall fence—all so the officers could confiscate several potted marijuana plants in the backyard.

In 2015, the city approved a $100,000 settlement to a man after police shot his dog while it was securely chained to a fence.

One officer involved in the Smith raid has shot 80 dogs over the course of his career, according to “destruction of animal” reports filed by Detroit police officers in 2017 and obtained by Reason. Two other officers involved in the Smith raid testified in depositions that they had shot “fewer than 20” and “at least 19” dogs over the course of their careers.

Bah.  What’s a few thousand here and there when the tax-payers have to foot the bill?  Now if they were to have charged them with assault with a deadly weapon with intent to do harm, animal cruelty and trespassing, and thrown them in prison, we may be getting somewhere.

Here’s another note for you.  I don’t believe in your “war on drugs.”  Not even a little bit.  I consider your raids to be criminal home invasion, and I don’t consider you to be “heroes of the community” when you do things like that.


Comments

  1. On May 13, 2019 at 7:07 am, Fred said:

    “…and citizens do not have to pay a dog license fee to enjoy their Fourth Amendment rights.” Dear NRA, read that 50 times until you grok it, then do your job. Traitors.

    And the guy who shot 80 dogs? Yeah, that’s a type. He’s killed people as well, guaranteed. He needs to be without the camp and stoned.

  2. On May 13, 2019 at 8:04 am, Bram said:

    Settlements like these should be deducted from the pay and retirement funds of the officers involved.

  3. On May 13, 2019 at 9:35 am, Heywood said:

    You are spot on Herschel. This crap is not going to stop until the cops or politicians are personally responsible for this behavior. As long as they can be defended by lawyers paid from public coffers, and dip into those same funds to pay the settlements, this is going to continue.

  4. On May 13, 2019 at 11:01 am, Sunny said:

    This story right here is why I wouldn’t trust a cop at all.
    Shooting dogs? Dogs that are in a bathroom and no threat at all? No. That person needs some MAJOR push back.
    sunny

  5. On May 13, 2019 at 11:45 am, Matt said:

    When you strip away the illusions of officialdom, cops are no different than any other common street thug or bully.

  6. On May 13, 2019 at 12:28 pm, John said:

    My brother-in- law who is a life long animal lover and has been breeding various dogs
    for over 20 years absolutely HATES pit bulls. He was in the 82nd for 8 years and 22 more in light infantry so he is no chicken heart but he says if he could he would shoot every one he
    saw if he could get away with it. He thinks they are extremely dangerous and not to be trusted.
    I must say I never liked or trusted them either. Saw way too many running loose in
    the streets over the years when I had to go into or near (where else) Baltimore.

  7. On May 13, 2019 at 1:45 pm, DAN III said:

    ALCON,

    When the trigger-happy, badged thugs of “law enforcement” are shot down during their criminal invasions of one’s abode, then and only then, will their killing of innocent creatures and their attacks on citizens cease !

    There are no good cops.

  8. On May 14, 2019 at 1:16 am, Dan said:

    Once again the poodleshooting badgemonkeys suffer NO consequences for their sociopathic criminality and the long suffering taxpayer takes in the ass once again.

  9. On May 15, 2019 at 6:36 pm, Sunny said:

    John, what does your comment have to do with the story?
    The pit bulls that were mentioned were NOT attacking the cops. There was at least one that was behind a closed door so unless they knew how to open that door, this was not a justified shoot.
    I always put myself in the place of the person who owned the dogs that the cops shot and I know there would have been a lot more killing going on……
    sunny

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You are currently reading "Detroit Will Pay Out $60,000 To Woman Whose Dogs Were Shot On A Marijuana Raid", entry #21219 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Police and was published May 12th, 2019 by Herschel Smith.

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