BRIGHTON, Colo. (CBS4) – A Commerce City police officer accused of aggravated animal cruelty after killing a family’s dog was found not guilty on Wednesday.
Officer Robert Price shot and killed a family’s dog in Commerce City last November and prosecutors used video of the shooting as evidence at trial.
It took just about 3 hours for the jury to return a not guilty verdict. Animal rights activists left the courtroom in tears, but defense attorneys said they felt that the jury did the right thing.
Video of the dog being shot was taken by a 12-year-old neighbor. Prosecutors claimed it showed Price shooting the mixed breed dog for no good reason. But the defense argued the dog, named Chloe, was aggressive and out of control, even though she had been stunned and was on a catch pole.
Reactions to the verdict were mixed.
“The jury just gave Commerce City Police Department a chance and an opportunity to shoot our dogs at will,” animal activist Angela Henson said.
“I would have liked it to see it go the other way, but the jury didn’t see it that way, so we’ll leave it that,” Chloe’s owner Gary Branson said.
“it was a political witch hunt to begin with, and fortunately the message today is if you’re an officer and you do the right thing and use appropriate force a jury will see that,” Price’s attorney Don Sisson said.
Price’s troubles may not be owner. Branson hinted that he will potentially pursue a civil case.