Jonathan and Brittany Whitworth became inadvertent youtube stars last year thanks to the Columbia, Missouri Police Department. The footage of the February 2010 narcotics raid on the Whitworth home — filmed by the SWAT team themselves —has now been watched more than 1.8 million times.
But as Radley Balko noted in May 2010, this raid wasn't unique, in fact it was far less of a disaster than it could have been: the police announced their presence, no humans were killed or injured, and it was even the correct house, in that it contained the person listed on the warrant. (And indeed, Jonathan plead guilty and paid a $300 fine for possession of drug paraphernalia, The parents were initially charged with child endangerment. Which is hilarious, considering who was firing weapons in a house which contained a child.)
Still, Jonathan Whitworth's baffled yells and the horrible whimpering of his injured dog made this raid go viral in a way that most of the 150 daily SWAT raids never will.
Now the Whitworths' civil suit has been dismissed by a federal judge. According to the Columbia Daily Tribune:
[The judge] found few, if any, facts to support many of the allegations in the complaint. She also found cause for tactics used by officers to conduct the raid, force used against Jonathan Whitworth during his arrest and the actions toward the wife and son to be proper….
The lawsuit was seeking restitution for damages to personal property and medical and veterinary expenses. It was filed in September 2010 against the 12 police officers who were at the raid for their contribution toward an alleged violation of the plaintiffs' constitutional rights.
Watch the raid for yourself if you've never seen it. The offensive language is not the offensive part.
But at least, says the Daily Tribune, the police were kind to the family after they murdered their pet:
Brittany Whitworth and her son were escorted outside the house after asking to be moved so they couldn't see the dead dog, according to the order.
Officers complied with requests for blankets and shoes as they went out to wait in a patrol vehicle for the next two hours. That car was later moved upon the mother's request so the boy would not see the dog's remains taken out by animal control.
Police complied with an additional request to allow Brittany Whitworth to mop up the dog's blood and for officers to tell her son that "Nala was alive and being taken to be a police dog."