A Kansas police officer who had been fired and jailed for killing a man in the line of duty was rehired and has now killed a dog in the line of duty.
Topeka police officer Michael Cruse killed the dog last month while responding to a burglary alarm at the home of a retired judge.
But bodycam footage was released this week, showing Cruse walking through the backyard of the house before Josie, a 26-pound miniature pinscher-boxer mix, comes charging at him.
Cruse fires twice, killing the dog.
Moments later, the dog’s owner, Harriette Macnish, wife of Shawnee County District Judge James Macnish, comes walking out, questioning why he would shoot her dog.
He explains that the dog came charging at him and she asks, “why didn’t you go the other way?”.
She then walks up to the dog in shock, reaching down to pet it as he tells her, “be careful, ma’am, it may be …. they don’t know how to …..”
Obviously still fearing for his life.
Now the Topeka Police Department is saying it will revise its policy to ensure less dogs are killed by its officers.
The new policy states that officers should use less lethal methods of stopping aggressive dogs, including pepper spray, taser guns or batons.
It also requires officers to undergo mandatory training provided by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
In introducing its new policy, Topeka police were sure to tell the media that Cruse would have been justified in killing Josie under both the new and old policies.
This is how Cruse described the incident in his report:
“I was approaching the French door (south side of residence) when a brown dog began to charge out at me from the south east part of the back yard. 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. 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.”
It turned out, Cruse was responding to a false alarm that was somehow triggered, not much different than a false alarm he was responding to in 2002 when he ran a stop sign and struck a pick-up truck, killing a 61-year-old man named Leonard “Butch” Porter.
He ended up pleading guilty to vehicular homicide and was sentenced to a year in jail with 11 months suspended, serving only 30 days, according to the Topeka Capital-Journal.
Eight months later, while Cruse was still on probation, an arbitrator ordered the department to rehire him, the Topeka Capital-Journal reported.
Still mourning the death of Josie, Harriette Macnish wondered how can a man with a conviction for vehicular homicide could still be employed as a cop.
And she will probably be surprised at how often cops kill dogs in this country.
While there is no official tally of how many dogs are killed by police, one organization, which was raising money to produce a documentary on the issue, estimated that cops kill one dog every 98 minutes.
And Laurel Matthews, a supervisory program specialist with the Department of Justice’s Community Oriented Policing Services (DOJ COPS) office – the same agency that will now train the Topeka Police Department – estimates that 25 to 30 pet dogs are killed each day by law enforcement officers, according to Police Mag.
And a website called PuppycideDB that provides a database to track these incidents estimates that “every year somewhere between several hundred to several thousand pets are killed by police.”
Whatever the number is, one thing is certain.
There has never been a documented report of a cop killed by a dog.