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Police Union Calls Criminal Charge in Dog Shooting ‘Outrageous’

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Chloe was shot to death by a Commerce City police officer in November of 2012  (credit: CBS)

Chloe was shot to death by a Commerce City police officer in November of 2012 (credit: CBS)

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Investigator Brian Maass

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – Colorado’s largest police organization, the Fraternal Order of Police, is calling a criminal charge against a Commerce City police officer who shot and killed a dog “outrageous” and the result “of a sensationalized media event.”

Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price shot and killed the dog, Chloe, on Nov. 24 after police received a call of a loose dog.

The incident was videotaped by a neighbor with a cellphone and went viral. Animal activists were furious at the shooting feeling it was unjustified and unnecessary. A month after the shooting, the Adams County District Attorney’s Office announced that Price was being charged with one count of aggravated cruelty to animals, a felony.

Now, CBS4 has obtained a Jan. 14 letter sent by Michael Violette, the Executive Director of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, to all Colorado FOP members. In the letter, Violette defends Price’s actions, saying the officer is being “vilified by an uninformed public.”

“It is our opinion these officers did nothing wrong and are unfortunate victims of a sensationalized media event,” Violette wrote. “This matter should never have been referred to the district attorney’s office by the department. It is obvious to us that the involved officials felt the media and public focus being brought to bear on their decisions regarding this matter, and as a result found it easier to act in the manner they did rather than do the right thing in this case.”

Violette goes on to call for a show of support for Price at his arraignment next week.

The FOP director asks all off-duty officers from any agency who can attend the Jan. 22 hearing to do so, wearing a suit and tie. He says it “will be a silent show of support” without an actual rally.

Video shot by Kenny Collins shows police shooting the dog. (credit: CBS)

Video shot by Kenny Collins shows police shooting the dog. (credit: CBS)

“We are hoping to fill the courtroom and hallways with brother and sister officers. Please spread the word and try to attend,” Violette said.

CBS4 has left messages for Violette an an attempt to discuss the letter.

Nationwide, the Fraternal Order of Police says it has 325,000 law enforcement members. In Colorado, the FOP says it has several thousand members and it calls itself the largest police organization in the state.

- Written by Brian Maass for CBSDenver.com

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