Detroiter sues police department after cop shot her dog, stuffed it in a trash can

DPD shoots more dogs than any police department in the country, the lawsuit states

Feb 16, 2023 at 3:09 pm
click to enlarge A Detroit police squad car. - Steve Neavling
Steve Neavling
A Detroit police squad car.

A Detroit woman is suing the city’s police department after one of its officers shot her dog and dumped it into a trash can without telling her.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court on Feb. 8, alleges a Detroit cop violated the Fourth Amendment rights of Tiffany Lindsay in September 2021 when he jumped over her backyard fence without a warrant or probable cause in search of a carjacking suspect.

Lindsay’s dog, Jack, lunged at the officer, Steven Brandon, biting his forearm and tearing his pants, according to a police report. Brandon responded by striking the dog several times before drawing a gun and killing the animal.

“Brandon apparently attempted to hide the seizure of Jack from Plaintiff by stuffing Jack’s body into Plaintiff’s neighbor’s trash bin,” the lawsuit states.

If Brandon bothered to knock on Lindsay’s door and ask for permission to search her yard, the incident would never have happened, the lawsuit states.

Brandon’s acts “were intentional, grossly negligent and amounted to reckless or callous indifference to Plaintiff’s constitutional rights,” according to the lawsuit, filed by attorney Christopher S. Olson.

Olson further alleges that DPD kills more dogs than any police department in the country because it doesn’t take the shootings seriously.

When officers kill a dog, they’re only required to file a “Destruction of Animal” report that is signed by the police chief or his delegate.

“The Destruction of Animal report approval process is a sham rubber stamp,” Olson wrote in the lawsuit.

DPD “has a custom of tolerance or acquiescence in shooting dogs in violation of the Fourth Amendment,” the lawsuit alleges.

Lindsay is just the latest Detroit resident to file a lawsuit against the police department for killing a dog, according to a 2016 Reason investigation that found one officer had shot more than 80 dogs during his career.

Since 2016, the cash-strapped city doled out more than $460,000 to settle five dog-killing lawsuits. In one of the latest cases, the city agreed to pay $75,000 to settle a lawsuit in 2020 after body camera footage showed officers lied about the circumstances that led to an officer shooting two dogs during a drug raid.

DPD determined the shooting was unjustified.

Detroit police declined to comment on the latest case, citing pending litigation, but said the officers involved are under investigation.

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