Saturday, July 11, 2009
Danville Officer Who Shot Dachshund Fired
We're quite sure that you remember the story of 'Killer,' the 11-year-old, 12-pound, red smooth Dachshund who was shot and killed by Officer Murrill McLean in Danville, Virginia, about a month ago as he was attempting to serve a warrant next door to Killer's home.
The shooting sparked outrage amongst Dachshund and pet lovers nationwide, resulting in mass radio, print, and television news coverage, and a deluge of e-mails, phone calls, and letters to the Danville Police Department. The Department even received what it considered threats from some responders.
While Officer McLean was initially supported by the Danville Police, surprising news came yesterday that Danville police chief Philip Broadfoot, after closely reviewing the evidence, has terminated Officer McLean, and apologized to the Harper family, Killer's humans. Chief Broadfoot cites that the entire incident as an embarrassment to the Department, the city of Danville, and to him personally.
Here is the entire press release from Danville Police Department:
The shooting took place on June 8th at 100 Berman Drive when a dachshund attacked Officer Murrill McLean as he was attempting to serve a warrant. The supervisor who responded to the scene did an excellent job responding to the grief of the dog’s owners, but did not properly investigate the shooting and document the evidence. The supervisor accepted McLean’s account without a detailed demonstration or explanation of how the shooting took place. A proper investigation would have shown that where Officer McLean was standing during the attack would have provided him the time, distance and means necessary to consider other options before using his firearm.
On June 10th, Deputy Chief Tom Brown raised questions about the quality of the investigation and ordered more information and pictures. The new information and pictures simply supported the original documentation. After I returned to work from my vacation on the morning of Thursday, June 11th, I used the investigation file and a personal telephone interview with Officer McLean to make my decision that the shooting was regrettable but justified under department policy.
After hearing comments in the media about bloodstain evidence at the scene that was not documented in the investigation file, I went to Berman Drive and personally looked at the scene of the shooting. My observations immediately raised questions in my mind about how the shooting actually occurred. Officer McLean could not be questioned at that time because he was out of town. Once I was able to interview him in person on June 24th, I ordered a full-scale internal affairs investigation of the entire incident.
The internal affairs investigation is now complete. The investigation determined that while Officer McLean’s fear of rabies is well founded based on several personal life experiences, his reports of how the shooting occurred were misleading and factually inaccurate. Based on these reports and a thorough review of the physical evidence, I have determined that the shooting of the dachshund did not follow department policy and was not justified. The investigation also determined that several supervisors in his chain of command did not ensure the incident was properly investigated.
As a result of the investigation, Officer McLean has been terminated from employment and disciplinary proceedings have been initiated with the supervisors for violating department policy. Because this is now a personnel matter involving discipline, I cannot give more complete details. This entire matter has been an embarrassment to the Danville Police Department, the City of Danville, and to me personally. I apologize for our failure to respond to this situation appropriately. We can do better. In fact, we regularly investigate crimes and thoroughly document the evidence. I can only conclude that this incident was not treated as the serious matter it actually was, and that attitude resulted in an incomplete and faulty investigation.
I apologize to the Harper family for the loss of their pet and pledge to them that I will make changes in our operation to ensure that nothing like this happens again. No further comments will be made concerning this matter unless new information develops.