Thursday, Jan 22, 2009, 11:47AM CST
According to The Temple Daily Telegram's Harper Scott Clark, Lillie's owner described the shooting this way:
She said on the first shot Lillie ran from the officer and faltered, then as she cowered toward the playground he fired three more rounds into her.
Now the department is stonewalling the local paper that is trying to get to the bottom of the case. According to the story:
City Manager Sam Listi and acting Police Chief Jen Wesley both said information concerning the case couldn't be released to the public until the investigation is complete.
Chief Wesley was asked if she could respond to the allegations and said she could not as long as an internal investigation is ongoing.
"It's not that big of a case anyway," she said. "There is not much I can say about it now. I'm not at liberty to do that."
"But I think this investigation will go pretty smooth and it's going to be finished up pretty quickly. It's pretty cut and dried. I think it's going to be a no-brainer kind of thing. But we always look into everything. We want to make sure we are objective in all our cases no matter who it is. We have to talk to everybody and once that's done and the case has been looked at to make sure no criminal charges will be filed it will be released."
When the newspaper asked Wesley whether the officer is on administrative leave and or had been relieved of his firearm during the internal review, the chief said she could not release that information.
That's a problem. City and police officials should answer basic questions about internal investigations such as these. We've seen too many cases where internal investigations are not investigations at all, but cover-ups. It's imperative for governments to err on the side of transparency so there will be no doubts.
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Travis W. Hall
Thursday, 01/22/2009 - 07:36PM
Two questions which should be answered.
1. Is it normal for a police officer in his pajamas and in his own yard or common area to be carrying a service revolver or did he go outside expecting an opportinuty to use it?
2. If he came upon 2 men fighting and shot one of them to break up the fight would he have then followed the wounded guy and pumped 3 more shots into him.
Could we just have a trigger happy cop on the force in Belton!!!
Friday, 01/23/2009 - 07:33AM
Thank you both for reading us and taking time to write in. When I first read the story, I also wondered, "An off-duty cop going outside in his pajamas AND carrying his gun?"
Friday, 01/23/2009 - 10:05AM
I think this is one of the worst cases of abuse of power that I have seen. It is also a travesty that the police chief just blows this off as a no brainer. Is Belton, Texas that backwards of a city or have they just lost all compasion whatsoever, This is simply awful, and it hurts my very soul.
Saturday, 01/24/2009 - 07:37PM
Here are some comments from Joe Trevino Jr., who asked us to repost this comment he left earlier to fix a typo or two in the earlier version. -- Jennifer P.
Once when a neighbor of mine shot another neighbors dog - a deputy told the shooter that prior to shooting your neighbor’s dog, effort to alleviate the problem should be done through communication. If that fails, three warnings should be given to neighbor to fix the problem. Police reports should be written to show that opportunity was given for the dog owner to tie his dog up. We were even taught by police during our neighborhood CRIME WATCH meeting that every effort to communicate with your neighbors should be used.
I recommend the officer read “Police ETHICS, A Matter of Character” By Douglas W. Perez - J. Alan Moore, Chapter 13. Compare a law enforcement officer’s fundamental duty with the dog killer’s actions. The code says, for example, …my duty is to, serve mankind, protect property, protect against deception, (if the officer was attacked three times as reported in the newspaper by the officer - prior to killing the dog, where are filed police reports of those three times - its hearsay with no reports). The officer’s life is to be unsullied and as example to all, maintain courageous calm, develop self-restraint, constantly mindful of welfare of others (discharging his firearm 4 times?), exemplary in obeying the laws of the land (firing his weapon in city limits), will never act officiously or permit personal feelings, animosities influence decisions, I will enforce the law courteously and appropriately, without malice or ill will, never employing unnecessary force, I recognize my badge if my office as a symbol of public faith and accept it as public trust to be held, I will constantly strive to achieve these objectives, dedicating myself before God to my chosen profession….law enforcement. Some of the above are absolutes.
This cop should’ve tried to approach the dog owner and verbally, professionally, and courteously, as a shining example of an officer, worked this out. If that didn’t work, then he should’ve called a fellow officer to write a report and hand to the dog owner OR call the city code enforcer to give written notice of pet ordinance violation and they would’ve warned the owner then if the owner didn’t respond, a citation would follow.
Clearly the officer acted out of order and didn’t follow the procedures that you and I are to follow. That bullet could’ve ricochet and killed an innocent person. That is scary. The police department shouldn’t tolerate this wild behavior and send that cop to the house.
What I would like to know is if the cop was in his Walt Disney Mickey Mouse Jammies, where did he have his gun concealed?