It's been all of two months since we've reported anything about Detroit Police shooting dogs under suspicious circumstances while perpetuating the drug war. Time for a couple more cases!
Crumbling, constantly ailing Detroit has a reputation for being a hotbed of crime and violence, but numbers from the FBI show that violence in Detroit has been dropping recently, even as other major cities have seen an uptick. It has seen a slight increase in homicides in 2016, but again, much smaller than what other major cities have been seeing.
Unfortunately whatever methods are contributing to the drop in crime don't seem to include more thoughtful community policing. WJBK, Detroit's FOX affiliate, has two new stories that have popped up since that last case Jacob Sullum reported. In each case the police shot and killed dogs in raids that don't even seem to be leading to any sort of criminal charges.
The most recent story has police raiding a family, claiming it was a "drug house." The couple had three dogs gated off in the kitchen and were of no threat. The police fired six shots at the dogs, killing two. According to the family's attorney, all six police officers in the raid copied each other's account of in their police reports, each saying that the dogs were aggressive and attacked them. But when actually asked about it, two officers gave conflicting accounts:
One said the dogs were shot because they were jumping over the barricade. The other officer said the dogs got through the barricade and were shot while attacking another officer in the living room.
Pictures taken at the crime scene tell another story entirely: pools of blood were in the corner of the kitchen, 11 feet from the barricade.
"So we've got those two contradicting statements from these two officers. Now I would have loved to have asked the other officers what happened, and maybe perhaps gotten another story or two or three, or four, but the judge didn't allow me to. Which far too many times happens in criminal cases," [attorney Solomon] Rander said.
Also of note: All the police found in the house was some marijuana, which the couple owned legally under Michigan's medical marijuana laws. The husband was initially charged for possession, but then the charges were dropped.
In another case reported in July, police again claimed to have been raiding a "drug house." In this case, according to the man who had just moved in there with his fiancée, police apparently shot the dog through a front window before even entering the house for the raid. And while the police say they found drugs, nobody at the home was charged with any drug-related crimes. They were cited with "living in a vacant home," which they're challenging in court.