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    29 May 2016

    Detroit police acted like 'dog death squad,' lawsuit says

    Three months after Detroit paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed because Detroit Police Officer Daryl Dawson fatally shot a chained-up dog named Babycakes, the Department is being sued for another dog massacre.
    Nikita Smith and Kevin Thomas of Detroit say police raided their home during the service of a narcotics warrant and unnecessarily killed their three dogs, Debo, Mama and Smoke. 
    Photos submitted with the complaint show the bathroom, where one of the dogs was locked inside, drenched in blood.
    The three carcasses were placed in plastic bags and taken from the home.  

    The lawsuit says Smith, who was the only one home, heard police knock and told them, "Let me put my dogs down in the basement."
    Police wrote in their report there was no response.
    She "sequestered" Debo and Mama in the basement and "blocked the entryway," the lawsuit says. Smoke was locked in a bathroom.
    When police entered, Debo got through "obstruction" keeping the dogs in the basement.
    As Smith "reached down to her dog ... officers shot Debo multiple times" not far from Smith, the lawsuit claims.
    The officers then "stormed down into the basement where the officers shot to death plaintiff's dog Mama, a pregnant female dog," the lawsuit says. "Mama was not barking or attacking" and "died in a pool of blood in the corner of the basement."
    "Should we shoot that one too?" an officer allegedly said after cracking the bathroom door to verify the third dog was inside. 
    Officers listed in the lawsuit as John Gaines and John Paul then fired repeatedly through the door.
    "Officer Gaines laughed and said ... 'Did you see that? I got that one good,'" says the complaint. "A police officer next said to (Smith), 'I should have killed you, too.'
    " ... Police officers acted as (a) dog death squad and stormed through the plaintiffs' house executing dogs as they went." 

    A police report obtained by Christopher S. Olson, who is representing the couple, through a Freedom of Information Act request claims an officer shot a "vicious gray pit bull" seven times after it charged upon police entering the home.
    "Simultaneously, a vicious black dog charged ... " from the bathroom. Police shot that dog three times with a shotgun, the police report claims. 
    The lawsuit includes photos of bullet holes in the bathroom door.
    The report says officers then shot a "vicious white pit bull" in the basement.
    Police arrested Smith and seized her 2007 Grand Prix, a scale and multiple baggies containing a total of 25.8 grams, just less than an ounce, of marijuana.
    According to the search warrant affidavit, a credible informant previously purchased marijuana from a man in the house. 
    The Wayne County Prosecutor's Office charged Smith with violation of the city's marijuana code. She pleaded not guilty and the case was dismissed May 11 when Detroit police failed to appear for a court hearing. 
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