An Indiana policeman slammed on social media after doorbell video footage showed him kicking a dog, which had just allegedly scared off a burglar – but the police department is insisting that the video itself is misleading while it defended the officer as doing nothing wrong.
The Terre Haute Police Department released a response on Wednesday morning after the video went viral on social media, taken from a Ring doorbell camera, showing an officer kicking the dog, a Boston terrier, at least four times.
His own bodycam footage, which has since been released, showed him scowling and hurling obscenities at the pet and another pit bull type dog that barked at him, with the unidentified officer telling the animals: ‘I’ll kick your f**king a**. Stupid dog.’
A woman who lived at the home took to Twitter on Tuesday, a day after the incident and a day before the department’s response, and tweeted that her home had been burglarized the evening prior while she and her family were at work, while adding that the dogs were able to scare off the intruder.
The woman, identified as Haley Richey on her Twitter account, revealed that the ensuing response and incident occurred after a neighbor had called police following the burglary.
‘Yesterday evening while my family and I were at work, someone broke into my home. My dogs ran the intruder off. This was the response shortly after a neighbor called. My home needed help and all it received was hurt,’ Richey’s tweet read, which included an ‘AnimalCruelty’ hashtag.
However, the police department says Richey’s do not line up with their version of the story.
The department’s Facebook post says the officers were sent to a home on the 1700 block of Ohio Street around 7 pm Monday night, in response to an aggressive white pit bull, while denying that the officer’s had been dispatched for a burglary call.
According to MyWabashValley.com, the officers had determined that this was the same residence where a white pit bull had previously attacked an 11-year-old girl after running a background check.
When the officers arrived to the house, they encountered two ‘aggressive’ dogs that ‘continued to lunge,’ the cops said afterward, with bodycam footage showing one of the officers looking for a neighbor for assistance with the dogs.
The bodycam footage then shows as the officer walks over to the dog owner’s porch, with the police department using that fact as proof that the officer’s story lines up with the viral video of the dog being kicked, the outlet reported.
The Terre Haute Police Department added that it eventually made contact with the owner of the dogs, a man who was not immediately named, however that part was allegedly not released via bodycam footage.
The owner was hit with two counts of dangerous animal prohibited, two counts of animal restraint and two counts of a non-immunized animal.
After the video went viral online and has been viewed hundreds of thousands of times, the department says it contacted the owner, who said he did not want to file a complaint over the incident, according to the department’s Facebook post.
The department also reportedly sent all of its reports, video and bodycam footage to the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office to see if the officer broke any laws during the unsettling incident, who in turn responded saying that there was no criminal activity on the part of the officer.
‘Having viewed all of the videos in their entirety and all reports, the prosecutor’s office has provided us a written determination that no criminal activity was found to have occurred on the part of the officer,’ THPD wrote.
‘We have received a number of messages alerting us to a ‘Ring’ (doorbell) video that was posted to social media and reportedly represents a sergeant with our department allegedly responding to a burglary’
‘This short video depicts the sergeant’s encounter with a dog on a porch. Based on this shared narrative and brief segment of video, we absolutely understand the perception and outrage expressed by many,’ the post continued.
‘We hold the highest regard for our police K9s and consider them all part of our family. Many of us have our own animals and would no more want to see them hurt than our own children.’
While the narrative online has been that the dog in question had just scared off a burglar before the incident, the THPD insists that the officers were not responding to a burglary call, and that the officers had been sent to the location specifically in regard to the dogs.
Meanwhile, the department added that it will be conducting its own investigation into the incident.
The sergeant seen kicking the dog on camera has since been placed on administrative duty assignment as the department begins its internal investigation.