Minneapolis settlement of $225K awarded family of dogs shot by police

April 10, 2013

A Minneapolis family whose two dogs were killed in such close proximity to a 3-year-old that blood splattered the toddler has been awarded a $225,000 settlement. The City Council approved the settlement on March 29.

The story began in 2011 when the Keten family home was raided by Minneapolis police. Allegations in the lawsuit filed by James and Aisha Keten stated the officers fired their weapons near young children and screamed profanities and racial slurs.

The police were also accused of taking $9400 from a purse. During the raid, the Keten’s two dogs were killed. The police had a search warrant to search the property after James Keten’s brother, who was a suspect in an April 3, 2011 shooting, was taken into custody. The police were looking for the .223 rifle that had been used in the shooting.

Two days before the raid, James had agreed to meet the officer in charge of the case. Instead of a civilized meeting, the Keten family home was raided by a SWAT team as they were having breakfast. One dog was shot immediately as the team entered the living room. A second dog was shot in the kitchen in close proximity to the Keten’s daughters, age 1 and 3.

The city denied some of the allegations made against the police department but agreed the 3-year-old was seated at a kitchen table when the second dog was killed. Police Chief Janee Harteau said in a prepared statement that

“this incident occurred two years ago, and I do not have all the details about the case. However, as the new chief, I can reassure everyone that police misconduct will not be tolerated by the department. I fully support ouor officers in the work they do to keep our city safe each day but will also hold them accountable for their actions to ensure they are consistent with our core values.”

In February 2011, an Allen County(Ohio) Probate Court judge recently awarded a $2.5 million dollar wrongful death settlement to the Wilson family when a 26-year old unarmed woman and her 1-year-old son were shot by police.

Lima police Sgt. Joseph Chavalia was acquitted of charges of negligent homicide and negligent assault which resulted in the mother being killed and the toddler being shot in the shoulder. This occurred during a police raid and officers were shooting dogs in another part of the home.

The number of dog shootings by police where toddlers and young children are nearby is growing. This not only puts children in physical danger of being hit by a bullet, it also affects them mentally.

Many children are developing an early hatred of police officers due to watching their family dog being murdered. Readers, what opinion do you have on officers becoming trigger happy in the presence of children? This writer believes that only through lawsuits will the number of dogs shot by police decline.

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