Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dog's Life (and untimely death by cop)

So a story from the North got pretty big lately.  Cops behaving badly shows up now and again (weirdly, many of those stories come from up north- specifically I'm thinking of an ISP officer with a shit ton of criminal charges).

This stands out for two reasons, first:

Because the police department has received threatening voicemails and emails, the name of the officer who shot Arfee is not being released, Clark said in a news release. The officer has not, however, been placed on administrative leave.

And second:

This is the second officer-dog shooting incident that has resulted in a possible lawsuit in Idaho this year.

You can read the article here.

This is actually interesting to me because cops killing dogs in Idaho is sort of an old battle.  

Smith v. Costello, 77 Idaho 205, 290 P.2d 742 (1955) superseded by statute, I.C. § 6-611, as an example of an arbitrary law being held unconstitutional. In Smith, a conservation officer shot and killed a dog and claimed former I.C. § 37-1407 as an affirmative defense. Idaho Code § 37-1407 provided that “any dog running at large in territory inhabited by deer, is hereby declared to be a public nuisance and may be killed at such time by any game conservation officer . . . .” The Idaho Supreme Court stated that the phrase “territory inhabited by deer” could refer to the majority of the state, including farmland. This could make any farmer’s dog a public nuisance and at risk of being shot by a conservation officer. Accordingly, the Court held that the statute was an “arbitrary, unreasonable and unconstitutional regulation.”

Weird right?  Weirder still, Smith came out the same year that SCOTUS handed down Lee Optical and changed the game for striking down statutes for being really, really stupid.  Lord knows if you could get rid of a law like that today.

It's pretty fascinating that Idaho's lawmakers and law enforcers apparently hate your dog.  And Idahoans obviously love dogs quite a bit because they freak out every time one is killed.  Cop kills a person, you can see the public trying to make it ok and eventually it's like well cops live dangerous lives, that guy earned it.  But cop kills a two year old lab- not so much.

The other majorly interesting part of the story is that the Coeur d'Alene Police Office released a press release that apparently was nothing but lies.  Dog was a pit bull, it said, and lunged out of the van!  but the dog was killed in the van, with a bullet through the window, and pictures of the dog show that it's no pit bull.  Cops are claiming an animal control officer said it was a pit bull but a vet said um, no guys.  no.

It's one thing when cops kill folks because they're untrained and love their guns.  It's kind of another when they release an incredibly stupid cover up story, a brazen one that makes the situation so much worse than it ever needed to be.  Now you have to wonder about the people running this police force.  How can anyone trust these people?  It's not hard to fire or train cops when they have trigger happy issues.  But fixing a department that is fundamentally corrupt?  Sucks to be up North.

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