SWAT Team Raids Family Home, Shoots The Family’s Two Dogs In Front of a Seven-Year-Old Child, Finds Only a Small Amount of Pot — And Charges Father With Child Endangerment


The video below of a SWAT team raiding a home in Columbia, Mo. has raised questions over the actions of police officers and charges brought against a family. In the video, the officers shot the family’s two dogs (including one in front of a seven-year-old child) on a drug raid that only netted a small amount of marijuana. Nevertheless, the father Jonathan Whitworth was charged with drug possession and child endangerment.

The police shot and killed the family’s pit bull and wounded its Corgi. On the video, Whitworth asks “Did you shoot my fucking dog? . . . Oh my God, what the fuck did you do that for?”

Credit for this story goes to Daily Tribune reporter Brennan David who obtained the video.

Whitworth pleaded down to possession of paraphernalia and paid the possession fine.

For the full story, click here.

52 thoughts on “SWAT Team Raids Family Home, Shoots The Family’s Two Dogs In Front of a Seven-Year-Old Child, Finds Only a Small Amount of Pot — And Charges Father With Child Endangerment

  1. Columbia, MO SWAT Team.

    You guys win the “Overreacting Assholes” Award.

    Heckuva Job, Brownie Shirts!

  2. Too much, but I understand the officers need for action. However, not to be trite but the charges are a little over kill. Even though the “Criminal charges” have been resolved does not mean that the state is not still pursuing the “Child Endangerment.”

    I have read appellate cases where parental rights have been terminated under the same circumstances as described. So what happened to these charges as most states have “Family Courts”?

  3. This is why ‘no knock’ warrants need to be outlawed. And why drugs need to be legalized.
    It took 13 years of prohibition, to find out it was never going to work. They didn’t repeal prohibition because booze was determined to now be healthy for people. They repealed it to get rid of all the crime & corruption associated with it.

    And all the cost in policing, prosecuting, and imprisoning people.

    Would you send a buddy that offered you a beer from his six pack to prison for as many years as some get for drugs?
    Basically that’s what you are doing with drug laws. And might have done during prohibition when it was illegal. The morality of the situation never changed, ONLY THE LAWS.
    And since when is having the punishment worse than the offense done any good?

    You can NOT regulate something that is illegal. The only way to regulate something is to legalize it.

    Somehow, we haven’t learned that lesson on the “War on Drugs” yet.

    Around 80% of people in prisons are there for drug related crimes. States are going broke trying to imprison them all.
    We have the highest rate of people imprisoned in the world. One out of every 100 people are in prison.

    Police trying to battle drugs have abused citizens rights to the point of battering ram front doors down to enforce unenforceable laws. And this leads to mistakes & corruption in our police forces. And no knock warrants leads to deaths of sometimes innocent people.

    And do I even need to mention strip searching thousands of people, including women & children, sometimes in public? (Whether they needed it or not.)

    Police even had to go to multiple agency busts, to keep from having cops rip off dealers for their money, when they had just a couple cops investigating drug cases.

    Addicts will commit whatever crimes they have to, in order to get money for drugs.

    Disease is spread with dirty needles.

    The negatives just go on and on.

    All drugs should be legalized.

    The knee jerk reaction from people is that everyone would then become an addict. And they think you mean legalized, with no controls.

    Everyone didn’t become drunks after the repeal of prohibition. And I’m sure that the same is probably true about drugs.
    Even as employers don’t like you coming to work drunk, they wouldn’t be tolerating drug use at work either.

    The government has ALL drugs lumped together, like they are all the same, but we all know there is a big difference between some of them.

    If they were legalized we could at least get people off the worst of them.
    After all if you can get pot, heroin, or coke, why bother with meth, PCP or crack.

    LEGALIZING DRUGS WON’T GET RID OF THE DRUG USERS.
    That’s not the point of legalizing them.

    But it would get the drug money out of the hands of gangs, foreign mobsters, and the rest.

    And with taxes it would bring in revenue to pay for programs to control it. And with a new industry we would get much needed jobs created.

    And this would get rid of all the other problems associated with them, and it would give us a chance to try to ‘control’ the problem more, like we have done with alcohol and cigarettes.

    We have fought this “War on Drugs” for decades, to continue to do the same thing and expect a different result would be insanity.

  4. “Wait until the soldiers who have been breaking down doors overseas come back and take over police work.”

    All hell is going to break loose. All those undisciplined, crazy, overly aggressive veterans are going to bring hell to the streets of America.

  5. How many times do reasonable people like John need to lay out that “Prohibition Does Not Historically Work” argument before it gets through Washington’s thick head? I know you have to have an IQ less than 80 to run for Senate, but I suppose “they” need somebody that stupid to keep propping up the private prison industry, approving those bloated LE budgets and protecting the interests of the tobacco and pharma industries all in the name of the War on Drugs the Federal government wages against American citizens. Which is not actually a war on drugs but rather a war on liberty, sanity and the individual American people sponsored by special interests plying their lobbyist graft.

    Let’s not even mention that taking the illegal profit motive away from drug dealers would do a lot to diffuse that ticking time bomb next door that is Mexico.

    No. Don’t mention practical solutions to social and economic problems. It makes the Senators grumpy.

  6. I was chomping at the bit all day yesterday for professor Turley to get this out there. At last!

    Gee, I wonder how anyone could think this possibly has anything to do with what is going on Iraq?!?!?/poface

    From the Columbia, Missouri Police Department’s web page describing how SWAT officers are selected:

    “520. Police or combat military experience. All personnel shall have at least three years of police experience or equivalent expertise and capabilities such as combat military experience.”

    http://www.gocolumbiamo.com/Police/Divisions/SWAT/starselect.php

  7. Chris,

    They are already doing police work and hurting people, while in uniform, cuffing them and placing them under arrest and putting them in military vehicles.

    Under order of the governor of a state.

    Read the post for a link to a case yesterday from the 5th Circuit that held soldiers immune as “government officials” for so doing.

    No joke!

  8. what kind of an asshole could even shoot a Corgi? it’s like shooting the babysitter…..

  9. You know there are more than a million people in the armed forces right. And even more than that who have served. You cite one example and that represents the actions of the military as a whole? It is incredible. I have already had this discussion with buddy and until someone shows me overwhelming evidence that military personnel are more likely to abuse their power then those who haven’t served, I will continue to believe that they make fine police officers.

  10. what kind of an asshole could even shoot a Corgi? it’s like shooting the babysitter…..

    One with three years of combat experience in Iraq. When is that magic lightbulb going to go off over your hed, WoobsyCatz?

  11. ‘WoobsyCatz?’

    grow up Cruddy,everyone here knows that my reason is esconced squarely in my heart. Only an asshole needs to scratch….

  12. Well, if DC would just wake up and legalize and regulate pot, police wouldn’t need to be so damned trigger happy over what amounted to absolutely nothing, people would have their dogs around a lot longer, and kids wouldn’t be traumatized by unnecessary violence committed by those who purport to protect them.

    A corgi? Really, guys??

  13. This entire story gives me a stomach ache.

    I have never done any illegal drugs but, I can’t for the life of me understand why we don’t legalize and regulate the industry.

    Look, almost everybody I know either did drugs when they were young or are doing them now. I’m an oddity. This War on Drugs is one of the biggest jokes ever played on the American tax payer. It’s time to stop pretending that only scumbags do drugs and face the truth. Instead of using our tax dollars to fund SWAT teams and jail cells, let’s make some money and fund things like healthcare and mental-illness clinics.

    As for the in-door dog hunting SWAT team, line ’em up, bend ’em over at the waist and deliver several swats to their derrières. Also, suspend any hazard pay they might feel entitled to. They’re the real dregs of society.

  14. Buddy Hinton

    Sowwy I huwt youw feewings, Wootieez!

    ================================================================

    … line ‘em up, bend ‘em over at the waist and deliver several swats to their derrières … They’re the real dregs of society.

    I rest my case.

  15. Takes a real man to shoot a dog in a cage, in front of a little boy.

    As Dredd said up above, you think this is bad now, just “Wait until the soldiers who have been breaking down doors overseas come back and take over police work.” Not that they aren’t fine folks, by and large, but they’ve now had years of training to go into residences, shoot everyone inside, and ask questions afterwards.

  16. Buddy Hinton 1, May 6, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Sowwy I huwt youw feewings, Wootieez!
    ———–

    oh pleeeeeze!

    now I may have to laff…much needed this a.m. so thanks for that…..

  17. “This War on Drugs is one of the biggest jokes ever played on the American tax payer. It’s time to stop pretending that only scumbags do drugs and face the truth. ”

    … the umc town I grew up in was a ‘dry’ town…consequently there was a huge addiction problem. ‘Course way back when, it was pot and beer. The town limits were littered with packy’s for the ‘rents and one of the biggest pot dealers in this suburb was a man in dress blue. The big outcry amongst the kids was all the ‘confiscating’ the cops were doing. The funniest was when the son of the local police chief ran amok down the center of town guns blazing from his squad car and plowed into the local drug store. True story. I think he went on paid leave….pending….something….

  18. Chris,

    Whether they would make fine police officers as civilians is a different case as to whether governors can order soldiers into police work policing civilians.

    That is what posse comitatus is about. It makes doing just that a felony crime.

    The controversy in the case is whether a governor of a state is empowered to do so after posse comitatus was modified in the “Patriot Act” changes.

    I am not talking about changing your views, I am talking about the facts and applicable law in a real case and controversy.

    http://blogdredd.blogspot.com/2010/05/will-military-become-police-2.html

  19. This is awful. The outrage should be also directed at the higher level folks who not only authorize these raids, but endorse them.

    BTW – Did I miss something in the article about the dog being in the cage? I see several references to it on the comments, but cannot find in the article where that is mentioned. (Although it does not surprise me they shot a dog in a cage if they did.).

  20. Buddy Hinton I apologize. My response was out of line.
    This story has scratched a big nerve….sorry.

  21. This is obviously grotesque and I concur with the sentiment against the drug war.

    On a tangent, pro-gun people often argue that the second amendment is needed to resist government tyranny. Anti-gun people respond that this is ridiculous. My position has been that the concept is fine in principle but isn’t a compelling argument for gun ownership due to its unlikely necessity.

    Government tyranny comes in more forms than something from Orwell. I’d call blasting into your home without notice, and discharging weapons over the *possible* possession of a recreational drug tyranny. Should the homeowner have responded with gun fire? Probably not, as it would have likely meant his demise. However, given the circumstances, how could I argue against such a response morally? As these things get more frequent, we might want to rethink just how wacky the idea of resisting government surrogates with arms might be.

  22. as the owner of a dog and parent of a 7 year old, this story terrifies me. I can’t imagine how to begin comforting my daughter and preventing permanent emotional damage if something like this happened to us, and when the freakin’ mayor of a town one county away from me isn’t safe from a mistaken “no knock” dog-slaughtering raid, no one is.

  23. Jason,

    You must have skipped the last third or so of “1984.” I know that the whole surveillance thing is what most people focus on, but that was treated as a means to an end, not the end. The operational system of The Party was based on the assumptions that power equals force and power isn’t real unless you use it. Thus the torture. Knowing that the people committed “crime think” was secondary to punishing them for it.

  24. Woosty’s still a Cat

    … the umc town I grew up in was a ‘dry’ town…consequently there was a huge addiction problem. ‘Course way back when, it was pot and beer. The town limits were littered with packy’s for the ‘rents and one of the biggest pot dealers in this suburb was a man in dress blue. The big outcry amongst the kids was all the ‘confiscating’ the cops were doing. The funniest was when the son of the local police chief ran amok down the center of town guns blazing from his squad car and plowed into the local drug store. True story. I think he went on paid leave….pending….something….

    ===========================================================

    Exactly! So typical and predictable

  25. Jason

    This is obviously grotesque and I concur with the sentiment against the drug war.

    On a tangent, pro-gun people often argue that the second amendment is needed to resist government tyranny. Anti-gun people respond that this is ridiculous. My position has been that the concept is fine in principle but isn’t a compelling argument for gun ownership due to its unlikely necessity.

    Government tyranny comes in more forms than something from Orwell. I’d call blasting into your home without notice, and discharging weapons over the *possible* possession of a recreational drug tyranny. Should the homeowner have responded with gun fire? Probably not, as it would have likely meant his demise. However, given the circumstances, how could I argue against such a response morally? As these things get more frequent, we might want to rethink just how wacky the idea of resisting government surrogates with arms might be.

    ==============================================================

    I believe there may be some merit to your suggestion but … put a gun in the hands of someone like me and I’d probably miss the surrogate and instead end up wounding or killing my next door neighbor as he’s napping in his easy chair or a kid skipping down the street. If I’m armed, I’m a danger to innocent people.

  26. Gyges-
    Thank you, I should have been clearer; even as I wrote it, I struggled to come up with the best term and you are correct.

    Blouise-
    “I believe there may be some merit to your suggestion but … put a gun in the hands of someone like me and I’d probably miss the surrogate and instead end up wounding or killing my next door neighbor as he’s napping in his easy chair or a kid skipping down the street. If I’m armed, I’m a danger to innocent people.”

    I am not suggesting that you or anyone else take up arms against the police. I don’t even think that everyone should own guns, and not being comfortable with them is one of the best reasons not to. Again, even trying to resist the police will most likely end poorly. I’m simply saying that we take for granted that people braying about resisting the government are right wing, militia wacko types. Being a left-wing wacko type, I find their sensibilities almost entirely ridiculous, but I can’t say that I would fault someone morally for firing back when faced with this sort of unjustified and despicable government action.

  27. No problem. You are not the 1st person to be rubbed wrong by my rhetorical style. You should see the paroxysms the famous police apologist Professor Kerr has when he reads my wyld stylings!

    I think the s of l is coming up on Professor Gates’ claim. I don’t know whether Crowley was in combat, but I hope Gates sues anyways and I hope Professor Turley represents him.

  28. Morally, I’d be inclined to agree.

    I know quite a few people who own handguns including several LEOs and to be perfectly honest with you, none of them can shoot worth a damn. Maybe, if I lived out in the boonies where a lot of people hunt, maybe I’d come across some skilled marksmen … maybe.

  29. Buddy Hinton

    No problem. You are not the 1st person to be rubbed wrong by my rhetorical style. You should see the paroxysms the famous police apologist Professor Kerr has when he reads my wyld stylings!

    I think the s of l is coming up on Professor Gates’ claim. I don’t know whether Crowley was in combat, but I hope Gates sues anyways and I hope Professor Turley represents him.

    ==============================================================

    I hope he does too … just as long as we don’t have to go through another “Beerfest”.

  30. That was when President Obaama lost my support. He was on shaky ground with me after making fun of the legalization movement, but the Beer Summit was what put him out. Of course, if it hadn’t been tht it would have been Justice (“she’s got your back”) Sotomayor anyway.

  31. This is truly awful, strangers lawfully enter your property, butcher your pet and traumatise your family but hey….

    This is the American Dream

    Thank heavens those brave officers had all of that military equipment, body armour and weapons otherwise the big, bad doggies might have chewed them all up.

  32. I have never used illegal drugs; I have not consumed alcohol in about 40 years except for one sip of wine offered to me by a friend during a celebratory milestone almost 36 years ago, because I did not want to offend the person’s jester of goodwill. Nevertheless, this raid was exceptionally unjustified and the local prosecutor should consider filing animal cruelty charges—at the minimum—against the LEO(s) who shot the dogs.

  33. Wouldn’t it be awesome if the President had the courage to admit that prohibition is a failure?

  34. While my friend, mentioned above, was somewhat of a clown, I meant gesture not jester…6 decades of ‘nglish usage and I have yet to master the language of homophones and the linguistic correctness of other heterographs, heteronyms, and homonyms.

    Perhaps a sip of wine each decade might help…

  35. when you read something like this it makes you wonder how many times this happens and doesn’t make the news

  36. @Wooty’s Still a Cat –

    Thanks for the link – I don’t think for a minute this is an isolated incident. This happens thousands of times per year but rarely is recorded, most cities/Law Enforcement agencies don’t bother keeping track of such a thing so it is difficult to know. However, one city that does keep track is Milwaukee and they report shooting an average of a little more than 60 dogs per year.

  37. In all the cases where this has happned i have never heard of the Cops haveing to face any real consequence for their actions. I fail to see how this will change in the absencens of serious repercussions for the cops when they do this.

    I bet if the police dept who did this had to pay a few million in penalty or if the mayor disbanded the the department and reformed it then maybe.

  38. There is a real problem with the police and citizens interact. Although this is true everywhere in the world, that does not mean America should not strive for better. Legislatures need to step in at this point and mandate the elimination of these kinds of raids for nonviolent drug offenses. All this tragedy over a little bit of weed?! They should also spell out precautionary measures to take when a child may be present. Not to mention mandating that all reasonable methods of subduing pets be used with lethal force used only as a last resort. I’ve been thevictim of misuse of police force myself. I can tell you that there is not a more helpless feeling. Where have all the liberal lions gone?

  39. I live in Columbia, MO. We are enraged. Nothing in memory has brought our community together like this. I have not the time to read all of your comments on this blog, as I have been looking at blogs about our fair community from all over the world..

    The history of the video here:
    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/may/06/complete-coverage-february-2010-swat-raid/

    The video was obtained by our local newspaper who for once, acted like real journalists. The police did not want or ever intend for this video to be seen. I am surprised they didn’t “lose” it.

    A good place to get a feel of how Columbians are reacting to this story here, read the comments after this news article:

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/may/06/chief-details-swat-incident/

    and the comments after this article. Trouble brewing in our fair town….

    http://www.columbiatribune.com/news/2010/may/03/drug-raid-inquiry-is-ongoing/

  40. […] What makes this alleged threat even more egregious is that we have been a disturbing trend of officers shooting family dogs under questionable circumstances here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here andhere and here and here). It is chilling that, according to Crinnian, the first thing that this officer thought of was to threaten to shoot the family’s pets as if it were just one more minor act like kicking in a door. [I apologize for the way in which the list of links is formatted, but after reviewing the HTML code there seems to be nothing I can do about it.] […]

  41. […] What makes this alleged threat even more egregious is that we have been a disturbing trend of officers shooting family dogs under questionable circumstanceshere and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here andhere and here and here). It is chilling that, according to Crinnian, the first thing that this officer thought of was to threaten to shoot the family’s pets as if it were just one more minor act like kicking in a door. [I apologize for the way in which the list of links is formatted, but after reviewing the HTML code there seems to be nothing I can do about it.] […]

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