California Police Walk Past “Beware of Dog Sign,” Fatally Shoot Family Dog, Change Account After Release of Video . . . Later Found To Have Acted Properly

0406_NWS_SGT-L-EMDOGFOLOWe have been following the seemingly endless cases of shootings of dogs around the country. The latest is in El Monte, California where the police entered a family’s front yard some nine months ago (passed “Beware of Dog” signs) and fatally shot the family’s 2-year-old German shepherd. There was no imminent crime or exigent circumstance. Police were coming to collect a photograph of the teenage son of Cathy Luu and Chi Nguyen, whom they had previously reported had run away from home (he returned shortly afterward). A video tape shows the officers, Detective Arlen Castillo and then Officer Ken Fraser, open the gate without calling into the house. Fraser actually pets the family’s pit bull on the way in. Then the German shepherd comes out barking at Castillo and Castillo shoots the dog.


SCHUSTER (Uniform)-07-13-01 El Monte Police Chief Steven Schuster (left) has now announced that “The full incident was investigated, including both officers’ actions, with no sustained policy violations found.” He simply said that “the officers felt that their safety was compromised due to the dog.” That is all it takes apparently.

The video however shows the officers ignoring the “Beware of Dog” signs. That does not seem like a smart idea and created the likelihood of a confrontation with the dog. Notably, the officers account changed after it was disclosed that there was a video tape. Police said the officers shook the gate and proceeded cautiously only to be set upon by the dog. The video shows a very different scene. Shuster shrugged off the discrepancies: “The initial statement included information that was known to the reporting officer at the time, which was prior to knowledge of video evidence. As we learned about the discrepancy, we corrected the statement to the media and public and asked for the original video file to assist in our investigation. We completed a full investigation on this matter, and determined there were no sustained violations.”

That is a remarkably forgiving standard for police misconduct. It is an alternative to the outrageous policy of Dallas Police Chief David Brown revealed a new policy that would require officers involved in a shooting to wait 72 hours before making a statement. The policy came after a scandal where a surveillance video showed one of Brown’s officers shooting a mentally ill suspect for no apparent reason. The video contradicted the officer’s testimony and undermined the charge against the victim. Brown’s solution was not greater disciplining and monitoring of officers but to impose a delay to allow officers to craft their statements.

However, in El Monte, they just treat such contradictions with the officers’ account as a “discrepancy” and change the police account. Fraser was later promoted.

Kudos: Michael Blott

52 thoughts on “California Police Walk Past “Beware of Dog Sign,” Fatally Shoot Family Dog, Change Account After Release of Video . . . Later Found To Have Acted Properly

  1. People need to speak up.

    There have been a few cases where police departments listened to the public and did the right thing.

    But there have been many more cases where cops – like Chief Shuster – arrogantly condone criminal behavior by cops.

  2. “The initial statement included information that was known to the reporting officer at the time, which was prior to knowledge of video evidence. As we learned about the discrepancy, we corrected the statement to the media”

    I’m starting to believe that some of these statements are crafted by the criminally insane. That’s the only way I can understand how police can lie in their public statements with a straight face. If information was “known” to the officer at the time, but contradicted by actual information that wasn’t factually incorrect..

    Never mind. My mind hurts now from the gymnastics it has had to do to even try and process this doublespeak statement.

  3. Police lie so much that lawyers and judges call it “testilying”. Police officers and their leaders have lost their way and citizens and their pets are at risk. In some cases, the police appear incompetent, cowardly and dishonest. These individuals SHOULD NOT be involved in police services.

  4. Here is a new oath police can take when they testify in court…
    I swear to tell the truth because everything I say is truth, and further, if I change my story the new story is also truth because I said it.

  5. More and more information is coming forward that eyewitness testimony is unreliable and that includes the police. It has to do with how our memories work. We attend to the things that are important. In this case the important things were opening the gate, petting the puppy and shooting the big dog. That is what the officer is going to remember. The rest is going to be fill-in, based on those plot points. Of course, in the ‘original version’ the officer will have done everything correctly. Then as more information comes in he will mold the story to fit the new information. And, since it is in the financial interest of the police to have the officer exonerated, that will happen, too.
    Since these officers are fearing for their lives all the time, have we recruited a bunch of fraidy-cats into the police forces across the country?

  6. Additionally, the officers delayed allowing the family to take the dog to the vet saying they had to prove licensing. They promised to pay the vet bill and changed their mind when they found the bill was $7000. ( the dog was euthanized) The police told them “get another dog”. The family is not making a claim. I can only surmise intimidation.

  7. Paul C. Schulte: “Since these officers are fearing for their lives all the time, have we recruited a bunch of fraidy-cats into the police forces across the country?”

    Excellent point.

  8. The “fearing for our lives” trick is sometimes used to attempt to justify what they were doing when they were not justified. It shouldn’t be a blanket excuse and any proper hearing officer knows the difference between a real threat and a paperwork driven excuse.

  9. What I don’t get is that this was a low priority call. There was no chasing of a felon or feel of violence. They were there to pick up a photograph. I understand the need of officers to protect themselves. Dog attacks are no trivial matter for officers. However, many of these shootings seem avoidable with a modicum of caution.

  10. In a former life I was a process server and ran in to situations like this regularly. You just call out to the house and ask them politely to control their dogs. Not a big deal.

  11. Paul, Absolutely. Mail carriers and delivery people have to deal w/ dogs much more than cops. Some are armed w/ mace, particularly mail carriers, but none have guns! They do just fine. I had a dog sent after me when I was serving parental termination papers on a mother. It was a mean, nasty, ghetto dog. My old man had just sent me a box of Reggie bars to bust my balls. I was a Royals and he a Yankee fan. The Reggie bars had just come out. I had 2 pocketsful of them to share w/ coworkers. Well, those Reggie bars saved my ass. The dog loved them. I know chocolate is bad for dogs but it was him or me. If you have any sense you can pick out the dangerous dogs and cops should have pepper spray. The worst situation was the dogs that would sit under the porch on hot summer days in the ‘hood in KC. They jump out @ you w/o warning. Make you drop a deuce in your trousers.

  12. Perhaps the saddest thing is to hear from policemen who work with police dogs and know their way around kanines. They are torn between what they know about dogs and what their fellow officers do to dogs.

  13. Dale, great point. I got to know some K-9 cops quite well in KC. Their dog is their partner. I never had a discussion w/ them about gun crazy cops and dogs. But, I have little doubt you are correct. That blue code of silence would be erased because dogs are their blue partner as well.

  14. Adding more salt to the wound……when the officer did not show up when they said they would, the family called and ask that the officers call them ahead of time when they would get there so they could bring their dogs in. The officers were told by a sign and the department was told by a phone call. You can tell by the waddling that the officers were not physically fit. Studies show that out of shape officers resort to a weapon as they can not physically control a situation. Unions have successfully removed the requirement of physical fitness after the academy.

  15. I’m thinking that if the police officers were part of a military unit living in a barracks, the K-9 crew would visit the offending officers during the night to throw a well deserved “blanket party.”

  16. Bob, When you are a PI you are CONSTANTLY asked about interesting stories. That’s why I often to tell people what I do. But, I have a few I throw out there and this one seems to be one of the favorites, people love dog stories.

    I grew up a Yankee fan but came to hate them when I moved to KC and fell in love w/ the Royals. You may remember, the late 70’s that was a huge rival. I flew my old man out to KC for a couple playoff games. He knew I particularly hated Reggie, and he loved him. So, when those bars came out he sent me a big boxful. Have you tried the Wi. made Cow Pies, made by the Baraboo Candy Co.? They are virtually the same, except Reggie’s had peanuts and Cow Pies use pecans. Although, I hear they came out w/ a peanut butter cow pie which should be spot on.

  17. Bob, My wife was not a baseball fan when I met her. By 1977 she was hooked. We would go to ~40-50 games a year. We would sit in the bleachers for $1.50! We were @ this game, sitting in the right field bleachers. Left field was better because of the sun, but playoffs, you take any tix you can get. That game was the most heartbreaking of all the losses suffered by KC from 76-78. The Royals led by 2-3 runs until the 8th inning. I remember Mickey Rivers getting a big hit and of course Lyle closed it out. Back in those days players slid heard like Brett and closers pitch 2 or 3 innings. Before LaRussa screwed up relievers. He gave a horseshit speech on Sunday. All of the induction speeches were poor except for Glavine, but he mostly read his. My demanding college speech teacher would have flunked all of them. I expected more from Torre and hell, LaRussa’s an attorney..shameful.

  18. I forgot the point about my wife. Never being a sports fan or playing sports she had no experience dealing w/ the “agony of defeat” like I did. That game is famous for the postgame photo of Freddie Patek crying in the dugout. Well, I damn near had to carry her out of Royals Stadium that night. I felt so guilty.

  19. If a kid who owned the dog also got access to a pistol, he could walk into the cop house or the donut shop and shoot the perp dead. A jury would acquit.

  20. ” I understand the need of officers to protect themselves. Dog attacks are no trivial matter for officers.”

    With all due respect professor, mail carriers don’t seem to live in the same kind of fear that police officers do, and they encounter dogs far more often I’d hazard to guess.

    The recent rash of dog shootings seems to be a confluence of three factors : a lack of training on handling animals, an increasing belief by police officers that they are in mortal danger at every moment of their shift, and the continued closing of ranks that do not penalize officers for over-reacting to perceived danger. There have been dog shootings where it emerges after the fact that the local ASPCA or Humane Society has offered training on dealing with dogs to police but been declined. And when there is no punishment or admonishment for shooting a dog, there will be no incentive on the part of police to get that training. It’s very similar to the lack of training with mentally ill individuals. Combine it with a never-back-down approach to policing, and you have a recipe for disaster. Just once I’d like to read one of these stories and see the officer retreated, and only shot the animal as a last resort. Or better yet, retreated behind the fence and told the owner to handle it. But that approach is the exception, not the rule. The increased aggressiveness of police is real, and this is one of the byproducts.

  21. Pity the dog wasn’t a criminal illegal alien MS 13 Gangbanger dope dealer from anywhere in the world other then the USA then the dog would have had the red carpet rolled out for him.

    More people have now noticed that this govt & agencies like LE leadership across the nation have spiraled completely out of control.

    As Govt&LE’s Lawlessness continues to get worst I expect & completely understand that the citizens will in mass start saying “I was in fear for my, my family & our pets lives.”

    It wouldn’t even be considered Jury Nullification to me at this point for a citizen to make that claim today & walk if charges were made.

    What I hate worst is their Govt/LE’s Leadership lunacy is destroying the publics confidence in our govt institutions.

    This type stuff can’t & shouldn’t be allowed to continue another day.

    I seen 2 more of these type LE dog assassinations yesterday.

    ** Illinois cop shoots dog in its yard in front of 6-year-old girl

    Police State USA
    July 28, 2014

    HOMETOWN, IL — A family says that while rounding up their loose puppy, a police officer arrived and shot it in the head, in its own yard, in close proximity to several onlookers, the owner, and a horrified child. **

    http://www.prisonplanet.com/illinois-cop-shoots-dog-in-its-yard-in-front-of-6-year-old-girl.html

  22. I’m surprised they haven’t charged the kid with animal abuse and said he’s responsible for the dog’s death because he ran away from home.

  23. I want to believe that good cops, good prosecutors, and good SCOTUS justices are the norm, but I think the opposite is now true. It seems the tide has turned because we have allowed fear, religion, power, and political persuasion to supplant justice.

  24. Milli – a man was just found not guilty for killing an officer who ‘broke’ into his home on a warrantless search. I think you do always have the right to defend yourself.

  25. You do, Paul, but while that did happen – a lot of people have tried and are now dead, so that’s not helping them.

  26. Photography is not a crime and copblock have videos showing police constantly lying and violating citizens right to film them (protected under 1st Amendment). Police are above the law, they are almost never punished, even with video.

  27. http://www.dallasnews.com/news/community-news/best-southwest/headlines/20140523-dallas-police-chief-david-brown-calls-training-controversy-a-hot-mess.ece

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown calls training controversy ‘a hot mess’

    Dallas Police Chief David Brown stirred a controversy with his responses on the department’s blog, including his reaction to a complaint about the department’s handling of a sexual harassment allegation against a recruit who is the son of one of Brown’s friends.

  28. **on 1, July 29, 2014 at 4:54 pm Milli

    So if I feel my safety is compromised due to police presence, I have precedence to react? Hmmmm…
    **

    Milli,

    Back in the day when the USA was the USA there was a good reason why Sheriff Taylor was called Sheriff & Fife was called Deputy Fife.

    (Screaming) Because Sheriff Taylor was called Sheriff because He was “Sane” & a Ph’ing Leader that knew when to take Barny’s Bullets away from him!

    You’re not stupid are you, get your neighborhood’s arse back to Mayberry fast possible I would suggest!

    & Stop promoting LE Leadership’s Assassinating boxes full of Puppies!

    & Thanks everyone for wasting my time on this obvious observation as it isn’t like the Lunatics in charge of the USA Gov’t wouldn’t just as soon Nuke their own people just so the Lunatic Leaders then could blame it all on the Tea Partiers, etc., or Ruskies/ Aka 911 scam.to possibly another of many govt scams attempting to Bull Sheet the US people into supporting WW3.

    BTW: I’m selling Obama/Bidan/Hillery Wooden Nickels for a fer more days at a discount, 100 wooden Nickels for 0.05 for all.Enjoy the Sarc with me as it my be all that remains of the planet soon.

  29. Go to that rancher video above; you can see it if you like, but be sure and click on YouTube video Illuminati Sellouts Exposed. Its all you need to put you on the right road to save your country and your own self. As for Dems & Reps they’ll tell you exactly as I’ve been saying: Its a smokescreen; don’t participate in EITHER. But there is much more in this rather long video so I’m going to challenge 9/11 conspiracy denier, Spinelli, to check it out; no, see the whole thing, Spinelli. You all should see it; not a perfect production in either video quality or even spelling, but magnificently put together!
    I’m going to end with my third thing to shun if you give a tinker’s cuss about your country: yep, totally shun the military; proud you served? Heck, No! That’s saying you’re proud you screwed your country by doing the Illuminati’s bidding! (we’ll let you off if you’re old enough to have been in WWII this lifetime)

  30. ILLUMINATI SELLOUTS EXPOSED. That’s the name of it. Excellent video to take you out of the matrix & see what’s really going on. Even some of you old hands might be a little shocked if you’ve got the guts to really watch it. Some of you conspiracy deniers will chicken out very quickly. But one or two will have the guts to get informed….

  31. The police lie and when they are confronted with a video proving they lied they then change their story with absolutely no consequences. Cops who are caught lying in their police reports should be fired and they should never be believed if they testify in court.

  32. This happens all over the place. I know a guy who got drunk in a Westower Communications company truck, drove it home from a bar, drove into his neighboors house and caused 30K in Damage, got fired, was rehired immediately thereafter per direction from the VP as an IC, then was promoted ! ! ! Too much of this BS happening

  33. I fear for my life whenever I see a police officer. Do I have the right to shoot the police on sight? If the police fear for their life they shoot unarmed citizens and pets.

  34. The police uniform has become an eternal “get out of jail free” card.

    On the note of “differences” between police officer reports/statements and video– a federal civil lawsuit has just been filed in Iowa for that Davenport mall police beating of the shoplifter. The defendants are the two cops–(the one who beat her and the one who held her down while he did that) and the city.

  35. anonymous – when juries are asked after officer involved shootings, etc. why they let the officer off, they usually point to the fact that they want to support the police.

  36. cops, like attorneys, have several things in common. They all squawk, eat crap and are protected by government. the idiot in charge should be taken out and have the crap beat out of him. cops are lower than whale poop, and that’s at the bottom of the ocean. whenever I see a cop car, I think of liars, cheaters, low life scum bags, and just worthless individuals. Just a punk-ass-punk with a badge and gun. This is just absolutely despicable!

  37. The problem is calling the police in the first place. The intelligence level of police hires is dropping you just don’t know what to expect but it is best to just expect the worst.

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