June 7, 2013
A Center Line pit bull dog with a litter of young puppies is dead after allegedly being shot by officers from the Center Line Police Department. Her crime: she had escaped out of her yard and come around to the front of her house.
The incident happened on June 4 by the Knights of Columbus on Bernice in Center Line, Michigan, when a pit bull named Diamond made her escape. She came around to the front of the house to wait on her mom, Liz Urban, to get home from taking a few of the puppies to their new homes.
I Heart Pits rescue in Detroit received a frantic call from a woman who saw the shooting take place. The witness says Diamond was laying down when CLPS arrived. She never got up and she didn’t charge the officers as they claim.
One of the officers fired a shot at Diamond, who then let out a loud cry and continued to whimper as she laid her head on the ground, submitting to the gunfire and pain. While lying on the ground whimpering, CLPD proceeded to shoot Mama Diamond four more times ultimately ending poor Diamonds life in her very own yard.
Mama Diamond’s babies are safe. They were in the home when their mother was killed, and have been crying for her ever since she left them and got out of her yard and was foolishly killed by CLPD.
In all, five people witnessed the shooting. Police need to remember that just because a witness isn’t visible doesn’t mean they’re not watching from behind a curtain inside their home.
Center Line Police Department officers allegedly made a return visit to the home after murdering the family dog. A friend to Liz was at the home, and officers repeatedly asked the friend whether she knew this dog. She kept insisting yes she did.
She was also on the phone with Diamond’s owner at the time and asked the officers whether they would like to speak to Diamond’s owner. According to the friend, the officer refused the phone when Liz asked to speak to him, telling the friend to be quiet so the owner on the other end of the phone could hear what they were about to say.
Officer’s allegedly told Liz if she pursues charges she will be arrested on five felonies, which would be determined by the judge, and she will spend a guaranteed 30 days in jail. But if you say you don’t know this dog and that she was a stray you will have no problems.
The family is hoping those who witnessed Diamond being shot will come forward and file a report against the Center Line Police Department. That’s a tough call to make, deciding to become involved with the local police department.
Several recent cases where dogs were shot and killed by police report police harassment after the family got the media involved. Owner’s of dogs shot by police have suffered through everything from “midnight questioning” on their case to being followed in their vehicle to strangers snooping on their property. Going against police can definitely create problems, even if the person involved hasn’t broken any laws.
In one case, the police department issued a citation for dog at large two weeks after police had shot and killed the family dog. It was thrown out by the judge because it wasn’t issued at the time the incident happened.
This makes many witnesses very afraid to come forward. It also makes it difficult for a family to make the decision to file charges against a local police department who murdered a member of the family.
Diamond’s family has already decided they will fight for justice in her murder. To follow Diamond’s story, a Facebook page has been set up in her memory. A candlelight vigil is also being planned, and details will be announced on their page.
Unfortunately, a necropsy can’t be done because police destroyed the body, despite the wishes of the owner to have her cremated.
Readers, what do you think of this case? Will the police come up with the same old excuses for killing a family dog? If police were called out on a dog at large call, it could be considered negligence for officers not to have been prepared to deal with a potentially dangerous dog using a non-lethal method. That’s what happened in the Santa Clara vs Hells Angel’s case, where members of the motorcycle group received almost $1 million for the death of three family dogs.
According to the Department of Justice report on The Problem of Dog-Related Incidents and Encounters, only an insufficiently trained officer finds it necessary to kill a family dog. Perhaps these officers failed to read the article published by Law Enforcement Today warning them they could be sued for killing a family dog.
Failure to properly train officers is now costing cities across the country in large settlements created when the family of a slain family dog decided to sue. Unfortunately, this may be the only method that will end family dogs being shot by police.
Your comments are welcome.
Please note this article is based on information provided by Diamond’s family and no wrong-doing by the Center Line police department has been determined at this point.
UPDATED JUNE 10: A woman who read Diamond’s story contacted the Center Line Police Department this morning and was not allowed to speak with anyone in charge. She was told everything online is a lie, and that police have plenty of witnesses who saw the dog attack. The concerned dog advocate was also told if she called back she would be paid a “visit” by police in her area.
This article does not dispute the fact that Diamond may have attacked. It deals with why deadly force was used as a first defense instead of a Taser, pepper spray or catch pole. It doesn’t dispute the dog may have been aggressive, as a mother dog may have been. People are more concerned about why the police saw fit to kill Diamond, then take her body, instead of coming prepared on a dog-at-large call
As of yet, no one has filed an official report against the department. Since an out of state caller has already been told she’ll be turned in to her local police, it may prevent any witnesses from coming forward.