- Posted July 16, 2014 by
St. Clair Shores, Michigan
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Owner Sues St. Clair Shores Police and City For Shooting Her Dog
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
(St. Clair Shores, Michigan) – Dog owner Brittany Preston filed a federal lawsuit against The City of St. Clair Shores, two police officers and an animal control officer for the shooting death of her dog, Lexie, a 45-pound female mix breed. Early November 22, 2013, St. Clair Shores police officers responded to a barking dog complaint. Upon arrival, police dash camera video obtained from a Freedom of Information Act request recorded an officer saying, “The only thing I’m going to do is shoot it. I do not like dogs. I don’t do snares. I don’t do dogs. I’ll shoot the <expletive> thing” and “I’m gonna shoot it anyway.” Approximately 20 minutes later, Police shot Lexie three times in front of the owner’s grandfather, who immediately refuted the Police claim that Lexie charged at them. The grandfather exclaimed, “You guys ought to go on T.V.” While the injured dog hid in the bushes, St. Clair Shores police shot Lexie a fourth time. A Police officer said, “Just die dog!” Approximately 20 minutes later, a St. Clair Shores animal control officer snared Lexie who, despite her wounds, walked to the animal control van while neighbors watched. The animal control officer’s log shows that he remained on the scene until 9:30 a.m., almost two hours after Lexie had been shot. The report also shows that he did not remove Lexie’s body from his truck until 3:00 p.m.
A necropsy report shows 15 bullet wounds (8 entry, 7 exit). St. Clair Shores police records admit to firing only five shots at Lexie, with one of those shots missing her, which renders at least seven additional bullet wounds unexplained. The necropsy states that the likely cause of death is “bleed out.”
Following an internal investigation of the incident, no charges were filed against any of the police officers involved. Police reports and a separate report presented to St. Clair Shores City Council made no mention of the grandfather’s statements, which were clearly audible on dash camera audio recording, that Lexie did not charge at the police. David Jacquemain, who has the same name as one of the police officers who shot Lexie, was sued in another civil rights lawsuit that alleged that Jacquemain threatened to kill two men and used excessive force in beating them. Baum v. Jacquemain, United States District Court For The Eastern District Of Michigan 2-11-cv-13318-AC-MJH. That case settled.
Preston’s attorney, Chris Olson, said, “Police responded to a barking dog complaint saying that they were just going to shoot it anyway. Minutes later, they did exactly what they said they would do – they repeatedly shot Lexie in front of my client’s grandfather. Police claim that Lexie charged them. My client’s grandfather immediately refuted the police’s claim. Police then continued their efforts to kill Lexie by shooting her again as she hid in the bushes posing no threat to them. Lexie was alive when she then walked to the animal control van. The necropsy shows that Lexie was shot several more times after she was put into the animal control van. It looks like someone used her for target practice while she was in animal control custody. The City wanted Lexie dead and it used its power to kill her. Unfortunately, this kind of tragedy happens a lot. A well-developed body of federal law holds that police unreasonably killing a dog violates the owner’s Fourth Amendment rights. It is unreasonable to show up for a barking dog complaint with an express premeditated intent to shoot her and then to repeatedly shoot her. When Lexie did not die, they apparently took her and shot her several more times. We are asking the Court to hold the Defendants accountable for violating the Constitution and my client’s civil rights. Ultimately, we want justice for Lexie.”
Christopher S. Olson, Esq.
32121 Woodward Avenue
Royal Oak, Michigan 48073