A newly released police body camera video shows an officer who showed up at the home of a retired judge for a routine check on a security system alarm draw his gun and shoot the family’s beloved per dog Josie, a miniature pinscher mix who, the dog’s owners say, had never bitten anyone in her life — and who weighed only 26 pounds.
The shooting, by Officer Michael Cruse, was declared “justified” by the Topaka police department and Cruse was not disciplined or placed on leave.
“He had very little reaction time and that was apparent on the video that was released today, so we stand behind his actions,” Topeka Police Chief James Brown said on Thursday after reviewing the video of the July 13 incident that left retired District Court Judge James Macnish and his wife Harriette grieving for the pet that Harriette called “one of the friendliest creatures you’ve ever met.”
But Josie did tend to bark at strangers, and that is exactly what Cruse was — a stranger — when he walked into the Macnish’s back yard to check for any evidence of a break-in. The little brown dog ran toward the officer, who as seen in the above video, immediately fires two shots, killing the gentle, but rambunctious pet.
Be warned, the video contains disturbing images.
“I attempted to place time and distance between the dog and myself by running backwards. The dog continued to aggressively run toward me to attack,” wrote Cruse in his police report of the shooting. “This was exhibited by barking and growling. When the dog continued to attack toward me, I obtained my department issued Glock 9 mm model (Ser # LDR 247) from my holster and shot the dog 2 times effectively ending the imminent attack.”.
In 2003, Cruse was jailed for vehicular homicide after ramming a pickup truck with his police cruiser, killing the driver of the pickup, 61-year-old Leonard “Butch” Porter. After pleading guilty, he served 30 days of a one-year sentence. He was also responding to a burglar alarm when he killed Porter.
Cruse was also fired from the Topeka police force, but an arbitrator ruled that he must be rehired on a “last chance” basis.
But that “last chance” will not be the killing of Josie because Chief Brown says that the officer followed department policy when he shot the dog.
Harriette Macnish watched in horror as the officer killed her dog.
“I went and looked in the front yard and saw a police car. I came back around and he was bent down. Josie was running toward him. It was her yard and she didn’t know him. And he shot her twice and killed her,” she recalled in an interview with WIBW-TV. “I ran over and grabbed her and held her for about half an hour.”
Police kill dogs on an alarmingly regular basis in the United States. In one case reported by the Inquisitr in January, an Iowa officer tried to shoot a family dog, but missed and killed the woman who owned the dog instead. While no data is kept on police shootings of dogs, according to one study, a police officer kills a dog in the United States once every 98 minutes on average. A report in April showed that in the city of Dayton, Ohio alone, police had killed 49 dogs in the previous three years.
Macnish remains in disbelief that the officer had no alternative for dealing with a small, 26-pound dog other than summarily shooting and killing the pet, as seen in the video.
[Images: WIBW-TV Screen Grabs]