What's new is this: Yesterday, the dog owner filed a lawsuit in federal court against the officer and the City of LaGrange, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights were violated (that's the amendment concerning unreasonable searches and seizures).
To start from the beginning: The whole thing went down on March 31, 2010, according to the complaint.
Mays' dog, Cammie -- a 1.5-year-old female American bulldog -- was in heat. She broke free from her chain.
A neighbor saw her roaming loose, and called the cops. This wasn't the first time the neighbor had complained about the dog, says the plaintiff's attorney, James W. Schottel, Jr.
As you can see in the video, the cop -- Officer Doug Howell -- subdues the dog with a snare pole then shoots her in the chest. After about 35 seconds, she starts to wag her tail. He then takes his gun back out and shoots her in the head.
Schottel says the cops had written Mays citations for the dog on previous occasions.
The question in this case will be: Does the cop's behavior qualify as "reasonable" in the legal sense, i.e., in the way "reasonable" has been interpreted in federal case law?
Schottel thinks not. Citing a case in the Ninth Circuit, he claims that the shooting was "objectively unreasonable" because Howell "was not in any immediate danger, which called for the use of deadly force."
Support Local Journalism. Join the Riverfront Times Press Club
Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.
Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.