by Carey Wedler
(TheAntiMedia) FLINT, MICHIGAN- A Flint, Michigan couple is suing Department of Corrections officer, Michael Hughes in federal court for shooting their fifteen year old dog during a wrong-house raid. Authorities are refusing to comment on the lawsuit, filed on October 3, though the dog’s owners say at the time of the incident, the officers acknowledged their error and said it would be taken care of. Image credit:flinttownshippolice.org
On June 18, Katti Putnam answered her door to find her home surrounded by police and a tactical team. She was told they were looking for a fugitive, but as she was talking to them, an officer pointed out that they were at the wrong house. They had actually meant to raid the home next door. As Putnam walked to get her ID,she says she heard a loud popping noise:
“I went inside to get my identification and I heard a pop…I looked out the door to the back yard and there was an officer with his arm raised and a gun in his hand. I immediately realized Clohe had gone outside.”
According to Putnam, the Hughes fired another shot, which missed, at which point Putnam ran outside to put herself between the officer and her dog. Putnam recalls:
“I was yelling at him,…I said, ‘Why are you shooting my dog? What are you doing? You’re at the wrong house.”
Clohe, the elderly mutt who was already shot in the face, started to walk back inside, trailing blood behind her. Putnam’s partner, Erica Moreno, saw and cradled her.
Putnam’s neighbor, Jimmy Armstrong, who witnessed the entire event, stated in an affadavit that he saw Clohe enter the backyard. Armstrong stated the dog was not attacking or threatening any officer at any time.
“[Hughes] shot Clohe for no reason at all.”
Putnam said her dog has no history of biting anyone and wasn’t barking at the time. She explained:
“Clohe did not charge them or anything. She is old. She has a hard time getting on our couch as it is and she hobbles down the steps when she goes outside. She does not run or charge.”
At the time, police said they would “take care of this” and advised them to take their dog to a vet, but went on to ignore all attempts at contact from the couple.
Putnam also stated that they did not return to raid the “correct” house until a few hours later, which led her to question the urgency of the raid that left her dog missing part of her tongue and a canine tooth. Clohe had to have a bullet and fragments removed from her head and neck.
To add insult to injury, the couple was pulled over for speeding on the way to the vet, though a Michigan State trooper did not ticket them and in fact, escorted them to a veterinary clinic.
The couple is suing on the grounds that the police violated their 4th amendment rights. Putnam told the Huffington Post:
“Clohe’s not been the same since…It really angers me and makes me concerned for the system and how things work.”
Clearly, it was not communicated to the offending officer that they were at the wrong home, but this does not change the grotesque fact that the trigger happy “investigator” shot not once, but twice, at an elderly dog that posed zero threat.
Incidents like these demonstrate not only the lack of accountability that shrouds police violence, but the sense of entitlement officers feel they have to shoot whatever they so choose.
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