A pit bull chomped on a police officer’s leg in Camden, New Jersey last week. Now a 19-year-old faces serious charges, even though he claims that he did nothing to cause the dog to attack.
Police say that Thomas Wright, 19, ordered his family’s pet pit bull, Missy, to attack officers who were chasing him after witnessing the teen taking part in a drug deal, according to Camden’s Courier-Post newspaper.
But Wright says he never told the dog to do anything of the kind.
“I don’t even like the dog,” he said.
Camden Officers Brandon Galloza and Michael Ross reported that they were on a routine patrol Thursday evening, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer, when they saw Wright and another 19-year-old, Tajay Wilson, bending over the window of a car. The police interpreted their activity as typical of a drug deal.
Wilson was wearing a ski mask at the time, adding to the suspicious circumstances.
Police say they then chased the pair into Wright’s family home on the 1800 block of Filmore Street in Camden. But Wright’s nephew, 21-year-old Quazeem Jackson blocked the doorway. Once the officers got past him and into the house, where Wright’s mother, Sarah Ross, sat on the couch with her 10-year-old grandson, they say that the 19-year-old ordered a pit bull to attack.
Police say they heard Wright yell “sic ’em!” repeatedly to the dog. After hearing the command, the pit bull charged the officers and clamped its jaws around Galloza’s calf.
Needless to say, Wright’s account, and that of his mother varies considerably from the police version.
Wright, who was held in Camden County Jail on $25,000 bond facing aggravated assault charges, acknowledges that he raised his voice, but denies yelling “sic ’em,” while his mother says that Missy does not even know that command.
Instead, they say, the officers panicked the animal by yelling “We’ll kill that dog, we’ll kill that dog,” according to what Ross told to the Courier-Post.
Jackson, who was charged with obstructing justice, says he tried to grab the dog after Ross told him to take the pit bull upstairs, but Missy almost bit him too because the pet “was going crazy.”
Both Ross and Wright deny that the dog is dangerous. Nonetheless, Camden’s animal control is holding the pit bull in quarantine for seven days.
Officer Galloza was treated for his bite but appears to be okay. Wright and Wilson were both charged with loitering to commit a drug offense, and resisting arrest.