On November 28th 2014, Jackson Police Officer Matt Peters came to 20 year old Eddie Harris’ residence looking for an individual to take to the hospital for a psychological evaluation. Peters entered the house without a warrant and when Harris came down to see who walked in his house, Peters shot his dog, Kane, just feet in front of him at the bottom of the stair case.
Then they learned they had the wrong address.
Footage from outside of the house where the incident took place was taken by Shamsidden Brown, his neighbor (below).
Harris explained that the police were there looking for someone who didn’t live at his address. The petition, which is not a warrant, stated that police should look at unit numbers 511 and 513 at the 500 block of South Blackstone Street. Neither address belongs to the individual named in the petition.
Harris said his dog Kane has never bitten anyone and never had any issues with animal control.
PINAC spoke to Harris in a telephone conversation and he said, “If he would have missed, he could have shot me. What if I had children in the house?”
He explained that Officer Peters never knocked and just opened the door to his house without announcing who he was.
“The first thing I heard was the door squeak open. I was upstairs in the living area, playing NBA 2K with my girlfriend. My dog also heard it and went to the door. At that point, I asked who the F is it? I was walking down the stairs, and within seconds he shot my dog dead right in front of me. I was about 7-10 feet away. I cried for 3 days.”
He also said:
“When I asked him why he shot my dog, he said he bit him. But he didn’t bite him. He’s a pitbull, man. He was walking around smirking and smiling. The worst part is he smirked and didn’t even apologize or show that he was human. It wouldn’t be so bad if he apologized. What’s so funny about that? Why can he enter my home without permission, without even knocking? He won’t even give me his badge number.”
Harris also says he is trying to get a police report so that he can file a complaint for the warrantless entry, “they won’t give it to me. They keep telling me the investigation is still in session. I keep asking what you are going to do with him [Officer Peters]? Keep him on the clock? Take him off? And they say, we’ll let you know once we’re done.”
The other thing he says disturbs him is that he doesn’t even know the individual named in the petition, but also that the petition stated two addresses for one person, “How can one person be at two different places? They violated my civil rights. Why didn’t they just taze my dog? They didn’t have to shoot him. He was a good dog, man, like my family. My dog did what any dog would do; he went to see who was at the door.”
Harris and his friends held a funeral for his dog, Kane. Neighbors say the dog was always friendly. He also says, “Officer Peters didn’t even come to my dog’s funeral. If he did, we probably wouldn’t be going this far. If he did, I might feel different. No apology, nothing, man.”
An acquaintance of Harris who he met after the incident and contact person, Brandon Vreeland, for Jackson Cop Block later went to the station, armed, to conduct a 2nd amendment test and to submit a FOIA request. (Proceed with doing that at your own risk.) That video can be seen below.
We called the Jackson police department and spoke with Sgt. Flick, who told us she didn’t know what was on the petition, and said it depends on what the petition said that would determine if the petition allowed them lawful entry into the home. She stated that she was not familiar with the details of this shooting and couldn’t elaborate much on it.
We also reached out to dog activist, Julian Reyes, whose dog was shot by Austin Police who said , “these kinds of shooting happen all the time, but they don’t keep track of them. I look for data like inventory. They check out bullets and check them back in. The ones missing, those are shootings, but they don’t release details. It’s not just dogs, it’s cats and parakeets or any kind of animal.”
We asked Reyes why the police shoot so many dogs. He said, “they are trained to shoot dogs they see as being aggressive. A lot of dogs are running away from them. My dog Shiner Bock was running away from them. I heard 4 shots and they are still saying it was only one.”
Reyes says part of the solution is training police who aren’t accustomed to being around dogs how to deal with them. “Give the dogs a biscuit, not a bullet.” He also says we have a long way to go and that training is just the beginning. “There has to be a way to hold them accountable and allow us to see the data.”
Ultimately Reyes says he would like to see cops stop using lethal force against family pets and that a change in policy is needed.
As for Eddie Harris, he is just the most recent pet owner who came forward. This will no doubt not be the last we hear from someone like Harris. Dog shootings and warrantless entries have become issues we hear of daily.