Brickbat: Sorry, Little Girl


crying girl
Jana Guothova /

The Columbus, Ohio, City Council has agreed to pay $780,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the family of a 4-year-old girl who was shot by a police officer trying to shoot her dog. The officer had gone to the family's home because a neighbor asked for his help after the girl's mother accidentally cut herself and was frightened by the dog.

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  1. “The dog was presenting a threat to the officer and he was within his right to discharge his firearm.”

    Bet his firearm wasn’t the only thing being discharged.

    1. I’ll bet it was.

  2. “As the door was open there were children (in the house) and as Thomas went to the house, a dog approached him and the dog ran away,” Pfeiffer said. “A second dog came and the officer felt threatened by the dog and he took out his revolver and shot at the dog.”

    Clearly, the most prudent course of action. Why, I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve been cornered into that position. Visiting a new friend or lovers’ home for the first time while their dogs aren’t pinned up, walking down the neighborhood sidewalk when somebody with a dog or two teathered to a leash happens by; my go to reaction is alwaus pull out my clock and spray fire until all canines vacate the area.

    I once attended a ‘bark at the park’ themed minor league baseball game,…it was a fucking bloodbath. But don’t worry, I made it home safely.

    1. *clock

      Though a clock would be pretty funny.

      1. Probably work on a watch dog. badumtssss

  3. *Fucking auto correct! Glock

    1. actually it’s regular auto correct, with the fucking version you get “Flock” not clock

      1. I hate all of you.

          1. Well you hate everything, so in your case I took that as a given. 😉

  4. The kid should say she felt in fear of her life from the cop and stabbed him with a cleaver.

  5. I find this story hard to believe. A cop carrying a revolver? Yeah right.

    Though everything else makes sense. The cop indeed had no choice. Had he not shot at the dog, he would have been fired for endangering officer safety and tolerating a non-compliant child. A black mark like that would have ended his career in law enforcement forever. No department would ever hire an officer who failed to shoot a child when threatened by a dog. Shooting children is just fine. He could have killed the kid and kept his job. But failing to open fire in light of a perceived but non-existent threat against officer safety is unforgivable. Not to mention tolerating noncompliance. Nothing is more important than officer safety and total compliance.

    1. It’s a City Attorney, probably a crony, and doesn’t know the difference between a revolver and a semiautomatic.

  6. “Police supervisors found that Thomas violated procedures about discharging his firearm in the home, and recommended a three-day suspension and retraining.

    “Thomas, 35, has been with the Police Division six years and continues to work. He is appealing that discipline through arbitration.”

    1. kill them all, let animal control sort them out…

    2. Just sounds like they are going to work on improving his aim.

    3. He should appeal. He’s right. They were entirely too lenient.

  7. So how’d the mom’s cut turn out?

    1. It was a gash.

  8. “Jason Pappas, a police officer and president of the Fraternal Order of Police Capital City Lodge No. 9, said Thomas did nothing wrong.”

    Nothing? NOTHING??

    “He said in Thomas’ case, the dog gave the officer no choice.” He added, “I mean, what else could he do? So he shot the girl. It’s just unfortunate all the way around.”

    1. Well, it’s too bad the officer can’t defend himself. The article says that the dog was perfectly fine after the incident, so obviously after the shot missed this clearly dangerous dog the officer was mauled to death, right?

  9. The dog, described as a 40-pound bulldog mix, wasn’t hurt and no one else was injured.

    Once the officer shot the child, he lost all fear of the dog.

    1. ^This^

      And there you have it.

    2. Are suggesting that use of force training be altered to have, when they feel personally threatened, officers discharge their weapon into the nearest toddler?

      1. If feeling threatened but are not in a circumstance for which it would be justified for a non-police citizen to use force, they are to discharge their firearm into themselves.

        1. would you rather he tasered the little bitch?

          1. I’m not as old as I sound at times, but even as recently as my childhood the police made it a point of pride to never have to draw their service weapon. And this was a time with a much higher crime rate.

            1. Ah, so you admit that shooting kids/dogs has worked to lower crime!


              1. sadly thats probably their response.

    3. Well, then the dog knew he meant business.

  10. So…. in 2011 coverage of the Obama administration’s actions in shutting down all visas from Iraq centered around the plight of Iraqi employees of the US government, who were being targeted by Iraqi militants for their collaboration. The New York Times even published an article sympathetic to their situation, going so far as to mention the fact that congress had created a special immigration status to expedite the immigration of 25k Iraqi’s facing this situation and lamenting the fact that 4 years into the 5 year program only about 7k such visas had been granted. Then Obama suspends all visas entirely.

    So all of the gnashing of teeth on the left is kinda remarkable. The same folk didn’t have a word to say about this ban, coming in the middle of Obama’s tenure and not that far out from his reelection.

    Maybe it is different because of Somalia. Or Yemen. Oh wait, don’t we have a bunch of collaborators that are endangered in Sudan? Yeah, that must be it.

    I’m not really on his side on this one, but it sure does seem like people have extremely selective senses of outrage and unbelievably selective memories.

    1. It does seem that way, doesn’t it?

      Careful Cyto, what you just did is considered giving Trump a sloppy bj by some around here.

      1. Yeah, I know. I just don’t find Trump’s goings on all that interesting. I had identified him as a blowhard egomaniac and probably close to functionally retarded back in the 90’s, so it is hard to be surprised when he acts accordingly. So I’m more surprised when he does something that might be smart.

        But the reaction to Trump. That I find interesting. Not that people would be opposed to Trump. TEAM is huge and it isn’t surprising that TEAM would control people’s thought processes. But the level of manufactured outrage has been stunning. Huge marches “for women” that really amount to “we are still in mourning over Hillary’s loss and we need somewhere to direct that emotion”…. when has that kind of thing ever happened? Particularly when the exact same people were proclaiming from the rooftops only weeks before the election that “failure to support the winner of the election is treason!!”

        The mental gymnastics people are capable of is impressive, and actually quite frightening. The Republican flip on trade and immigration has been slow and has grown organically over the last 30 years. The flips on war, trade, domestic spying, rendition, going to war without congress, patriotism, the right to protest, the honor of the Presidency and respecting the office, bipartisan cooperation…. These have all come in a matter of hours.

        It isn’t like people could forget what their position was 3 weeks ago. It is all very weird.

        1. We need to figure out the new “BOOOOSHHHH,” but for Obama so the conservatives can blame Obama for everything, which the liberals can then blame Bush for everything. The cycle continues.

    2. I was pretty sure we had covered this at reason, but a site search only turned up coverage of an Afghan employed as a translator that we abandoned.

      So I guess nobody really cared about the plight of the Iraqis. If you can’t get reason pissed off, you just aren’t trying. We complain about everything.

    3. Very useful explanation and link. Thanks.

    4. As far as I can tell the official “It’s different when Obama did it!!” was that Obama just banned refugees, whereas Trump also banned all visitors from those countries.

  11. The problem is that the individual cop was not held responsible. The money was paid by the taxpayers, not the cop.

    How about this: when a cop is found to have killed someone unjustifiably, they go on a list that prohibits them from ever holding a law enforcement position again? Then we bar them from receiving their police pension and any other benefits connected with law enforcement employment.

    They want to be trigger-happy maniacs? Fine – let them work at a fucking factory until you’re 90. Murderers don’t deserve a golden retirement.

    1. You put your finger right on the problem. Not the “cop doesn’t pay the damages” part, but the incentives.

      The problem we have is that the police – both rank and file and leadership – dig their heels in and proclaim almost every action justified. And the reform activists by and large proclaim every over-reach or mis-step the action of a psychopathic murderer.

      We need a middle way. One which acknowledges the fact that with a million armed police on the streets, honest mistakes are going to be made. They’ll shoot the wrong guy for the wrong reason from time to time. They’ll raid the wrong house from time to time. It is just going to happen…. because we are talking about humans.

      But we also have to acknowledge that our current training and procedures are getting people killed. And if every shooting is “because racism!” or because he’s a homicidal maniac, that won’t even get on the table.

      This guy was clearly trained in the newthink: If you perceive a threat…. shoot the dog. This is not traditional training. This springs from SWAT training for what to do in a firefight. Not for investigating possible cut fingers.

      We train police to never back up, never de-escalate, never show weakness. Then we act surprised when something stupid like this happens.

      But as long as the two buckets are “everything is fine and you are a cop-hater if you say anything different” and “all cops are racist killers!” nothing is going to happen.

      1. “because racism!”

        I hate how race has become a primary factor in the police violence debate. Unless you have a mind-reading device, or dozens of other documented instances where a cop behaved differently towards a white person in identical circumstances, the accusations of racism are all speculation. And it doesn’t really matter: the problem is unjustified killings, not the racial blend of those killings.

        I’m not even sure what they would propose to do about this alleged racism. “More training”? I can tell you what that will be: the department will pay a few million to produce a 3-minute video with a 10-question quiz at the end. Every officer will skip through the video, then share the answers with each other on the quiz. I work at a prison; that’s how pretty much all the non-combat training gets done.

        1. I know I’m not law enforcement, but I am in government. We don’t even have to get the answers right on the questions. Mandated training is literally a participation mark. “Did employee X click through the class?”

      2. But we also have to acknowledge that our current training and procedures are getting people killed.

        Only two things matter in policing today. Officer safety and total compliance. That’s it.

        Anything, and I mean anything, that an officer perceives as a threat must be met with any level of force that the officer feels is appropriate, including deadly force. Failure to do so will get the cop fired.

        Any act of noncompliance must also be met with any level of force that the officer feels is appropriate, including deadly force. As in obey or die. Failure to do so will get the cop fired.

        That is policing today. Zero tolerance for anything that may jeopardize officer safety, and zero tolerance for noncompliance. That zero tolerance extends to the cops as well. If they don’t show zero tolerance, they will never work in law enforcement again.

        1. There’s a war on cops and we’re the enemy. A cop has no idea if you’re gunning for him so, for his own safety, he has to assume everybody is armed and dangerous. If you’ve got your hands in your pockets it may just be that you’re cold or it could be that you’re getting ready to pull out a gun. If a cop waits to see which one it is and it turns out to be the gun, he’s dead. For his own safety, he needs to assume he probably needs to shoot anybody he sees with their hands in their pockets. That he doesn’t shoot every person he sees with their hands in their pockets is an admirable display of restraint and courage.

          I think of that story of the guy who called the cops because somebody had tried carjacking his wife. An undercover cop showed up and instead of identifying himself to the homeowner starts snooping around the car. The homeowner, nervously waiting for the cops and worried about the carjacker showing back up, sees a strange guy snooping around his car, gets his gun and goes out to confront the guy, asks him who he is and what he’s doing and the cop immediately shoots the guy.

          And there you have it – an untrained homeowner takes the time to assess the danger and he gets shot. The trained cop shoots first and asks questions later and he went home safe. If the homeowner had been trained properly, he wouldn’t have asked the cop who he was and what he was doing, he would have just opened fire. And everybody would have said it was a good shoot. Right?

          1. ^This
            It may seem like sarcasm and it may seem funny, but THIS IS HOW COPS ARE ACTUALLY TRAINED. If you think they are not taught “to assume everybody is armed and dangerous”, then you are on fucking crack. That is EXACTLY the mentality that ALL cops are taught to cultivate these days, and it is DISASTROUS for a domestic law enforcement corps.
            Why don’t we here the cries of “What about the children?” from the right on this one? OR THE FUCKING LEFT?!?

        2. But cops have been around for a long time. Why’d it become this way only now, as opposed to, say, a century ago? Wasn’t anything learned from Coolidge?

    2. The problem is that the individual cop was not held responsible. The money was paid by the taxpayers, not the cop.

      Interesting fact? according to Radley Balko and NPR, cities that self-insure have higher rates of police misconduct while cities that insurance with insurance companies have much lower rates of police misconduct because insurance companies, particular insurance pools, provide training to cops and develop new procedures that actual reduce misconduct because the insurance companies have actual incentives to stop the lawsuits (that evil profit!).

  12. Look, dummies, the cop did the best thing he could under the circumstances. If he had shot the dog he knew you people would be bitching about a puppy-killer so instead he shot the kid just to show the dog he wasn’t messing around and he meant business. He shot the kid, he made his point, the dog backed off – what more do you want?

    1. I’m surprised you didn’t get any love on this one. That’s a blisteringly funny take. Like all of the best satire, it is viciously pointed. Well done!

  13. I have hunted may farms and fished many farm ponds. In all those times when I went and asked to hunt\fish I met many a dog. Of many breeds. Never once got bit . I always figured the dog lived there and I needed to be clam and not excite them .Then again,I’ve had hunting labs for years .

    1. Thing is, you aren’t tasked with keeping the public safe. And when you have that monumental task, you must keep yourself safe first. You can’t keep everyone safe unless you are safe. That means shooting anyone and anything that threatens you. Not only that, but to keep everyone safe you must be obeyed without question. Anyone who fails to obey is a threat, so you must shoot them. Officer safety and total compliance. That’s how you keep the public safe and serve the public: by shooting any member of the public who doesn’t serve you.

      1. What happened to the days where the police were revered for their bravery because they actually exhibited bravery even at the cost of their own safety? I’m sure there are some good cops out there, but no one can deny they are moving towards CYA. It’s your job. If you can’t handle it without going ape shit at the sight of a small dog, don’t become a cop.

        1. What happened to the days where the police were revered for their bravery because they actually exhibited bravery even at the cost of their own safety?

          Those days are long gone. Their job is not to exhibit bravery. Their job is to make people obey while ensuring their own safety and the safety of their fellow officers. Anything else and they put their career at risk. This is how they protect the public. Remember that the public is everyone except any member of the public they encounter. They serve the public. All individual members of the public exist to serve them.

    2. I needed to be clam and not excite them .

      Dogs love clams. Especially the breaded and fried ones. Be careful.

      1. my dog doesn’t like shellfish, but he really goes for the french fries & cole slaw…

        1. my dog doesn’t like shellfish

          A fine and observant dog- shellfish is trayf.

            1. Keleb

  14. “This is an unfortunate incident, but the officer was within his right to use force to subdue that dog,” Pappas said. “The dog was presenting a threat to the officer and he was within his right to discharge his firearm.”


    1. If I’m truly a stand up cop with courage, I’d be embarrassed this is considered to be a right to use force.

      1. I’d like to think this cop is getting ragged out every damn day in the squad room for being a little pussy so scared of a dog he had to use a little girl as a human shield – getting stuffed dogs stuck in his locker, dog biscuits dropped on his desk, other cops barking at him behind his back – but I suspect he’s getting a lot of sympathy from his fellow heroes for getting hassled for just doing his job by people who have no idea what life-threatening situations cops have to deal with every single day.

    2. I have a right to steer my car with feet, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good fucking idea.

  15. Kevin Williamson offering a dose of economic common sense:…

    Hope it comes to fruition?

  16. Is wanting a guy who accidentally shoots a kid to be fired really too much to ask? This guy is still on the street doing a job he can’t really be trusted to do.

  17. Less than a million for shooting a toddler?

    I mean, I don’t really want to stick it harder to the taxpayers, but that the lawyer they got is shit.

    1. Seriously. That’s a joke.

      I thought they were supposed to calculate based on future earnings. Even a secretary is going to be worth way more than that over the next 80+ years. Even at severely pessimistic net present value rates, it would have to be in the millions.

  18. Bet the next time someone in that neighborhood gets cut, they do not call the cops.
    $780,000, less $250,000 already spent on medical bills, less (est) 35% to the lawyer $87,500, with future surgery waiting. Not a good day for anyone but the lawyer. (if he was not pro bono).
    I also wonder why there was no discussion at the council meeting. Maybe a bit of back room non-sunshine politics to avoid anything on the record?

  19. Dogs can sense evil.

    1. and stupid, they can sense stupid too…esp. sensitive to stupid cops…

  20. The worse thing that ever happened to the police was when the Supreme Court ruled that they didn’t have to hire anyone with above average IQ. So you get school bullies, dumb jock and pick on kids with real psychological problems.

    1. and they’re the good ones…the others, not so much

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