Police Abuse

Cop Tries to Shoot Dog, Plugs Kid Instead. Police Use of Passive Voice Ensues.

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Dakota Corbitt
Facebook

Armed robber shoots police officer. Police officers track suspect down to a trailer park. Dog enters the scene and a deputy opens fire—except that, in a twist on the usual story, he misses the pooch and plugs a young child, instead. That child is 10-year-old Dakota Corbitt, pictured.

The story is all kinds of wrong.

The incident occurred in Coffee County, Georgia. The sheriff's department has a sketch of the events on its Facebook page:

Coffee County Sheriff Doyle Wooten confirms that a Juvenile boy was injured during the arrest of Christopher Barnett at a mobile home in the Burton Road area late Thursday evening. Barnett is believed to be the person who shot a Douglas Police Officer earlier Thursday morning. Barnett is also believed to have been involved in an Armed Robbery that occurred at Flash Foods. Investigators with all local agencies worked all day to gain information to identify and locate Barnett. During the arrest the juvenile received a gunshot wound to the leg. Due to the fact that it was an officer involved shooting and the local GBI agency was involved in the arrest of Barrett, GBI agents from the Eastman and Kingsland GBI offices responded to investigate the incident. It is our understanding that the injury was not life threatening and the Juvenile was taking to Savannah for precautionary reasons. Our prayers are with the juvenile and his family and also our officer that was involved.

This case is presently under investigation and when the investigation is complete we will update with a full report.

Christopher Barnett, the alleged armed robber and cop shooter (Officer Larry Carter was treated for his injury and released the same day) sounds like a piece of work, with police touting a "32-page rap sheet." But at the time Coffee County deputies caught up with him, he was allegedly making "friendly conversation with some of the residents" and "trying to blend in."

That's when, according to Sheriff Doyle Wooten, a dog ran up to a deputy. The passive voice comes up a lot at this point, with WALB reporting "The deputy's gun fired one shot, missing the dog and hitting Corbitt."

The gun was, apparently, a bit jittery, and might require some retraining.

Police didn't release the name of the deputy with the nervous weapon*, unlike those of the armed robbery suspect and the shot kid.

Like the wounded officer, Corbitt has been released from the hospital. He was hit behind the knee, though officials assure everybody that no major arteries were damaged. Major bones, joints, and the boy's ability to see police officers in the future without quaking in fear or rage…That's another matter.

There's no hint of malice in the shooting of the boy. But carelessness, an unfortunately common police tendency to shoot dogs as a first reaction, and a nasty and horrifying outcome of the risks posed by that tendency for a child—that's enough.

*Belatedly identified by the sheriff's department as Michael Vickers. And the kid's leg may not be healing well. H/T: Fist of Etiquette.