Detroit

Detroit Police Sued Again For Shooting Dogs During a Marijuana Raid

"If you keep asking for a warrant, we are gonna kill those dogs and call child protective services to pick up your kid."

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Benjamin Beytekin/picture alliance / Benjamin Beyt/Newscom

Two Detroit residents filed a civil rights lawsuit against the Detroit Police Department Wednesday, alleging that several police officers needlessly and maliciously shot their three dogs during a marijuana raid.

Kenneth Savage and Ashley Franklin say that on July 22, 2016, Detroit police raided their house and found the dogs in a back yard bounded by an eight-foot-tall fence. The officers refused to let Savage and Franklin retrieve the dogs and, instead, shot them.

The reason? Officers found several potted marijuana plants in the backyard Savage and Franklin contend were there legally.

The suit is now the third active civil rights action against the Detroit Police Department for killing dogs during marijuana raids. A Reason investigation last year found that the Detroit Police Department's Major Violators Unit, which conducts hundreds of drug raids a year in the city, had a nasty habit of leaving dead dogs in its wake. One officer had killed 69 dogs over the course of his career, public records obtained by Reason showed.

According to a search warrant affidavit, a Detroit police officer, while investigating an unrelated matter, observed several marijuana plants outdoors at the home of Savage, Franklin, and their son.

Two days later, eight Detroit police officers arrived at the house. Police were aware Savage and Franklin had a permit to grow medical marijuana, but the plants were in violation because they were visible outside, the search warrant affidavit said.

When Franklin showed police her marijuana paperwork and demanded to see a search warrant, an officer responded, "If you keep asking for a warrant, we are gonna kill those dogs and call child protective services to pick up your kid," the lawsuit says.

Officers detained Franklin and searched the house, but could not get to the marijuana plants because of the dogs. They initially called animal control but decided to destroy the animals, the lawsuit says. Officers shot and killed one dog through the fence, broke into the backyard enclosure, and fatally shot the other two. Animal control arrived ten minutes later.

"At no time did City of Detroit police officers give Plaintiffs an opportunity to sequester the dogs to permit them to access the back yard where the subject marijuana was located," the lawsuit says. "Plaintiff Franklin offered to take the marijuana from the back yard and give it to the police but Defendant police officers refused."

Because the dogs presented no imminent threat to officers and were secured behind a fence, the lawsuit contends their killing violated Savage and Franklin's Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure. They are seeking compensatory and punitive damages, as well as attorney fees, for what they say are the Detroit Police Department's reckless actions and callous indifference to their rights.

Last year, the city of Detroit approved a $100,000 settlement to a man after police shot his dog while it was securely chained to a fence.

Michigan attorney Chris Olson, representing Savage and Franklin, is also representing Nikita Smith, who is suing Police Department for shooting her three dogs while executing a search warrant for suspected marijuana sales. A judge dismissed criminal charges against Smith when officers failed to appear at her court hearing.

The Detroit Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment. However, in an interview this March with a local news channel, Detroit Police Assistant Chief James White defended the department from charges that it is needlessly shooting dogs.

"This isn't Fluffy the family pet in many instances," White told the news station. "Door comes off the hinges. There's pandemonium. People are running. Perpetrator, in many instances, has a weapon himself, can start shooting. Sometimes the dog is used as a tactic to get the advantage over the officers, and I just don't think it would be acceptable to an officer to put their life at risk to try to stop a dog from attacking them during a drug raid."

No officers' lives were at risk, Franklin had already been detained, and animal control was on its way. If a jury agrees with those facts, the city of Detroit might face another costly settlement.

Unless the Detroit Police Department changes the way it prosecutes the drug war, as I've written before, these incidents are practically guaranteed to continue. In April of this year, Detroit resident Renee Attles said the police stormed into her home and killed her dog during a wrong-house drug raid:

"I am so hurt," said Renee Attles. "You all you don't understand, I am so freaking hurt. That was my dog."

Renee Attles says she ran out to her sister's car to decide where they were going to celebrate their deceased mother's birthday. All of a sudden Detroit police stormed her Ryan Street home.

"I said what do you want," she said. "They handcuffed me and her sister at her car before we even got right there. All I heard was pop, pop, pow. Just like that. I told them let me get my dog."

NEXT: Michigan College Arrests Kids for Handing Out Constitutions, Whines About Being 'Vilified' When Students Sue

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88 responses to “Detroit Police Sued Again For Shooting Dogs During a Marijuana Raid

  1. Jesus.

    1. …Christ, what assholes.

    2. Sorry, but growing maryjane for distribution, not personal use, and letting your public hazard pitbulls run your property threatening everyone is BS.

      1. I don’t see anywhere in the article that says the weed was for distribution, and the dogs were securely fenced in, so…yeah, fuck off slaver.

      2. Cop-sucker – did you notice that they apparently didn’t have a warrant, just an affidavit to get a warrant?

      3. Please be sarcasm.

      4. i want to drink your blood, richard k jones

      5. Is it too much trouble to keep them hidden or inside when it’s legal and that’s the regulation? Sometimes people get killed for dumb shit like this.

      6. What he said, Fuck off slaver. I say that your friends must call you, Dick, but you obviously do not have any friends.

      7. Trespassers have no right to safety.

  2. I guess the lesson is, don’t pretend you have rights or the protection of any law whatsoever, and maybe – maybe – the cops won’t burn down your life. Any pets you have are probably goners, regardless.

    1. Detroit Police Department’s Major Violators Unit

      Finally, some honesty in government?

      1. Article on how Cobb County GA has a special task force that is so awesome that they can detect drug use on people who are completely sober and pass blood and urine tests. In fact, the officers argue that the only reason their conclusions aren’t supported by those tests is that the marijuana probably metabolized out of the person’s system before the tests.

        I presume Cobb plans to start using the officer’s keen detection skills as a basis for calibrating their lab tests for urine and blood.

        1. This is just gonna end in a puss drinking contest, isn’t it?

        2. Yeah. I used to live in the county next to Cobb. They give rednecks a bad name! Newt Gingrich was the representative there before he was thrown out of congress.
          “…the marijuana probably metabolized out of the person’s system before the tests.” Right! Despite the medical fact that THC takes two weeks to metabolize out of the body since it is a fat soluble alkaloid.

        3. Princess Mbamara: “How can you look at somebody and say marijuana?”

          Officer Carroll: “Because of the totality of the circumstances and a lot of things — and there are involuntary responses of the body that we can observe that have suggested impairment of marijuana, okay?”

          And there it is…. the magic phrase that handwaves away all responsibility to explain anything in the police world. “Totality of the Circumstances!” It is almost as magical as feeling threatened or “Stop Resisting!”

          And these people spend months and thousands of dollars trying to clear their name. All based on the word of the police officer that “the totality of the circumstances” says you were driving impaired. One lady worked as a bartender and had her license to serve alcohol revoked because of the bogus arrest. All based on one guy’s hunch.

          Great story by Brendan Keefe.

  3. The reason? Officers found several potted marijuana plants in the backyard Savage and Franklin contend were there legally.

    Raiding the home of legal marijuana growers? I guess the vaunted Major Violators Unit have their priorities in order.

    1. ” Police were aware Savage and Franklin had a permit to grow medical marijuana, but the plants were in violation because they were visible outside, the search warrant affidavit said.”
      So all parties agree that the plants were legal but their visibility was a technical violation. Incredibly a judge signed a search warrant based on this information. One can only wonder how many bullets were flying around a presumably tiny city lot while these heroes prosecuted their war on legal drugs.

    2. Detroit is renowned for its ample municipal budget and the absence of ordinary crimes like theft, assault, murder, etc. So the cops have lots of resources to squander on enforcing victimless crimes.

      1. Your sarcasm isn’t lost on me. That is why Detroit needs real civilian oversight. I am working to change this: http://boman4detroit.com

  4. I just don’t think it would be acceptable to an officer to put their life at risk to try to stop a dog from attacking them during a drug raid.”

    Just ask Jeff Sessions, Eric Holder, and Barack Obama.

    1. “and I just don’t think it would be acceptable to an officer to put their life at risk to try to stop a dog from attacking them during a drug raid.”….unless of course the public were to go about exacting appropriate retribution against the offending officers, or any part of the thin blue line, then this bullshit risk aversion model would have to be re-evaluated for the safety of the officers.

      What happens to wood chippers chained up in the yard? Be sure to pick up any banana peels laying in close proximity and do not get a remote starter for that wood chipper.

  5. Door comes off the hinges. There’s pandemonium.

    If only there were a way to open doors without blowing them off the hinges. Oh well I guess.

    1. There is, but officers have to enjoy their job to do a good job.

  6. Police were aware Savage and Franklin had a permit to grow medical marijuana, but the plants were in violation because they were visible outside

    And this required 8 armed agents of the state to tyrannize and threaten presumably peaceful people.

    “If you keep asking for a warrant, we are gonna kill those dogs and call child protective services to pick up your kid,”

    You have no rights.

  7. These thugs in blue should have every pet they own executed in front of their entire family.

    1. That’s cruel to the pets, who, after all, didn’t choose to be owned by some psychopath in a blue outfit. How about cutting a finger off instead?

      1. Only if it’s their trigger finger.

      2. How about a double-orchidectomy? Should solve the testosterone issue.

        1. Okay, that’ll be for the first offense. THEN we start taking fingers.

          1. Okay, but what does he get for the 69th offense?

    2. Why punish pets for the actions of their humans. You’re no better then them. Shame on you!

  8. Forget about the law and search warrants and all that. What kind of sick fucks shoot dogs that present absolutely no threat? I wonder what their fellow officers think of them? I mean, that’s pretty egregious, even for a cop.

    1. Oh, it’s high fives all around when they get back to the station.

    2. No. It’s standard protocol.

      1. Well, it is a terrible pawlicy.

        1. a angry as I am right now because dead dogs and fucknut cops and I just learned below there’s some kind of dog-murder website I’m never going to visit, that was worth a smile.

          1. -1 Rover

    3. Forget about the law and search warrants and all that. What kind of sick fucks shoot dogs that present absolutely no threat?

      Even if you don’t find it horrible from a moral or loss-of-life perspective, you’d think more than a few would be repulsed from a personal property and, as the article kinda suggests, a wake of destruction perspective.

      IPAs are terrible but if a cop had destroyed 69 completely harmless six packs of IPA in his career, I’d still think that’s a terrible waste of a lot other people’s shitty beer and probably wouldn’t trust him to watch my stuff.

      1. Great, now Zeb’s gonna be all riled up.

      2. I want to find out what his name is and call on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners to investigate him.

  9. Make no mistake, most departments make it very clear to officers that it’s Blue Lives Uber Alles. In the blind pursuit of officer safety, everyone is expendable, especially animals. Once you drum that culture into your cops’ heads, it’s a simple leap for them to conclude that animals are expendable in the pursuit of officer convenience.

    1. Then that makes us all expendable because we are all animals.

  10. “One officer had killed 69 dogs over the course of his career, public records obtained by Reason showed.”

    It should be obvious that killing dogs is an informal policy of the Detroit Police Department that is intended to punish their victims in an extrajudicial fashion.

    1. If it is a policy, then I want to change policy. The board of Police Commissioners is the Civilian oversight of the Detroit Police Department. You can help me get elected by contributing to my campaign here:
      http://scottyboman.org

  11. an officer responded, “If you keep asking for a warrant, we are gonna kill those dogs

    If at that point, the homeowners had opened fire on the officers, and they were subsequently charged for it and brought to trial, the defense would probably want me on the jury.

    -jcr

    1. And me. They would never be convicted if I was on the jury, it would either be ‘not guilty’ or hung jury.

      1. Every jury I’ve ever been on has been well hung.

        1. Another macho flash libertarian.

    2. The part about the kid, definitely. Kinda weird considering the ‘Dad Punches Out Good Samaritan’ story.

      I could definitely sympathize with wanting to feed bullets to people who come into your home without a warrant and promise to kill your dogs and take your kids.

      1. At least they kept the promise to kill the dogs.

      2. The people who order the mindless morons to kick in doors and shoot dogs… those are the ones that feel every libertarian vote like it was 21 jets of Mace.

  12. War on Cops? Don’t care.

    1. Evil sociopaths can be found in every profession. Don’t blame the job title. Blame the individual.

  13. I wish this site was updated more frequently:

    https://dogmurders.wordpress.com/

    1. They probably realized it was a more than full time job and gave up.

    2. Thanks for that. I’ll reblog some of their material.

  14. let’s shoot some dogs because horticulture

    1. also, I hate Detroit Police Assistant Chief James White. also, IPAs are good.

  15. Sick.

  16. Pretty soon police officers will be viewed as legitimate targets. The results won’t be pretty.

    1. Can one mark their calendar, go with a full moon wild card or should one just keep consulting their Magic 8 Ball.

  17. Maybe just a kneecap? Would that be justice in this scenario, let the victims break the aggressors’ kneecaps?

    I mean, my dog is a member of the family, so mere money isn’t going to repay me if someone kills my dog…

    1. Can we go through the kneecap with a power drill, IRA style?

      1. bat first…then drill…then skin. dicks, who shoots a dog?

          1. jeebus there’s more than one of those sites? i liked this morning better when i didn’t know that.

    2. My dog is my business partner- she demos in my classes, does demonstrations and recruits clients at shows- and team mate as well a member of the family. If she were to be shot I would literally have buy another $2000-2500 dog and train it for two years before I start taking through the obedience ranks to get to point where I can be a judge which is my planned retirement job.

      And what if the dog they shoot is a service dog? There is so much more than “pet” when it comes to dogs. And they will all act aggressively if they feel threatened. But I guess if an unarmed man with a broken taillight is fair game, we shouldn’t whine about an animal.

      1. Biology lesson: “an unarmed man with a broken taillight” is an animal.

    3. Defense is ethical. Revenge is giving in to ones inner evil. I think this is an object lesson as to why it is important for people to be responsible for the defense of themselves and their families. It isn’t just a Second Amendment right. It is a human right (or better yet, a person’s right … The right to keep and bear fangs…).

  18. Current generally accepted best practices for LEO training emphasize officer safety at all costs.

    This attitude permeates all government policies, for a simple reason.

    Politicians respond to individual cases, not statistical evidence, generally as a result of press coverage and/or special interest pressure.

    If you can figure out how to change this you will save democracy.

    1. Legalize drugs and other victimless crimes, for one. Get rid of incentives for cops to seize assets. These measures should solve 90% or more of the issues.

    2. If officer safety is so important (and I wholeheartedly believe it is), then they shouldn’t be putting themselves at risk over intolerance of a plant. They can’t rule on laws, but they can certainly have priorities. People are getting killed and robbed on a routine basis here. Such extreme measures make no sense for such benign activities. If elected to the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners, I would call for a policy that reserves high-risk raids for circumstances where there is an imminent threat to human life that is best remedied by such a use of force.

      So if they need to rescue a hostage or kidnap victim, OK. But not for peaceful politically incorrect behavior. Policies like this already exist for high speed chases.

  19. When some of those dog owners retaliate in kind, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth over the War on Innocent Cops. Whatever happened to fragging the bad apples that made the whole platoon look bad?

    1. “Whatever happened to fragging the bad apples that made the whole platoon look bad?”

      That requires a modicum of honor.

    2. They’re all bad apples?

  20. “If you keep asking for a warrant, we are gonna kill those dogs and call child protective services to pick up your kid,”

    If they actually have this on tape, wouldn’t this amount to a rather serious crime? At least on paper.

    It’s a cop openly saying – if you try to assert your constitutional rights, we’ll kill your dogs and kidnap your kids.

    Aint that *criminal*?

    1. Almost nobody uses tape any more. So I think it is a forgone conclusion that none exists.

      There may be something even better though. Detroit has an expanding body-cam program whereby videos are recorded to digital files. If they had body cams we could get to the truth quick. Most police in Detroit support the body-cam program because there have been a lot of false accusations against innocent officers.

  21. If they have that on tape he has a much better law suit than just destruction of property, so he probably doesn’t have it on tape and you can’t assume the cop said that even if it is pretty plausible given the ‘totality of circumstances.’ Even beyond the law suit they should be facing animal cruelty charges. I don’t think police should risk their lives if a dog is actually threatening them, but here they were only risking being annoyed.

    1. Dalben, Almost nobody uses tape any more. So I think it is a forgone conclusion that none exists.

      There may be something even better though. Detroit has an expanding body-cam program whereby videos are recorded to digital files. If they had body cams we could get to the truth quick. Most police in Detroit support the body-cam program because there have been a lot of false accusations against innocent officers. In this case I am going out on a limb and thinking reason did their due diligence. Also, they had no business going back their to begin with. Medical MJ is legal in Michigan, and small amounts are legal for possession in private for non-medical use in Detroit.

      As with high-speed chases, high risk raids should only be carried out if inaction presents an imminent threat to human life. I hardly think these plants were on a killing spree. Wish I could say the same for the perps acting under color of law.

  22. Full disclosure. I am a candidate for Police Commissioner in Detroit:
    http://scottyboman.org

    Any questions as to why the Detroit Police Department needs civilian oversight?

    Police are supposed to be protecting the peaceful people from the violent people, if possible. Realistically, they should be working to take violent people off the streets so that people can be safe from them.

    Here we have the exact opposite. Police officers invaded the property of people who were minding their own business and started killing family members. Three of whom died from the brutal attack. One officer threatened to take away a child because the victims wanted to see a warrant.

    Now I am confident the vast majority of police would be as disgusted as I am by this heinous and sadistic act of aggression, I am not cop-bashing.

    But the problem is systemic. Apparently, the majority of those sitting on the Detroit Board of Police Commissioners (most of whom are retired DPD officers – my opponent included) aren’t comfortable holding their former colleagues accountable. Loyalty is often a good thing, but there needs to be limits.

    No political institution can prevent all wrongful actions and abuses of power in advance, but there needs to be consequences. Apparently one of the perps had carried out 69 similar killings and is still on the force. How is he even walking free? Can someone find out what this person’s name is? If you happen to know, please post it here.

  23. “One officer had killed 69 dogs over the course of his career, public records obtained by Reason showed.”

    Did these public records include his or her name?
    I am interested in having the Board of Police Commissioners launch an investigation of this individual.

    I have a contact form here:
    http://scottyboman.org

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