By Karen Morfitt
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (CBS4) – In what’s being called the largest settlement of its kind, Commerce City has agreed to pay $262,500 to the family whose dog was killed by a police officer.
Gary Branson lost his dog Chloe in November 2012.
“It has been a difficult time, to say the least,” Branson said.
Commerce City police were called to check on complaints that a dog was running loose. One of the officers who responded shot at and killed Chloe.
The incident was caught on camera and caused outrage in the community.
That officer was taken to trial on animal cruelty charges and found not guilty by a jury.
Attorney Jennifer Edwards with the Englewood-based Animal Law Center says that decision prompted them to file a civil lawsuit against the city.
“It wasn’t surprising. I think the prosecutor’s office was pretty conflicted in this,” Edwards says, “At that point my client did not feel much vindication so the only thing left is to pursue a civil remedy.”
The fight came to a close for Branson when the city agreed to pay him more than a quarter of a million dollars. Edwards says it’s the largest U.S. settlement of its kind and sets precedent for thousands of other cases.
“It speaks volumes as to the fact that this isn’t going to happen and you’re not going to not be held accountable,” she said.
For Branson it’s a step toward closure, but he says it’s not nearly enough to replace what he lost.
“No amount of money could replace Chloe,” he said.
In addition to the payment agreed to in the settlement, the city also spent over $100,000 litigating this case. Half of that came out of pocket for them.
The city did not want to comment further on the settlement when approached by CBS4 on Monday.
Karen Morfitt Joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around metro Denver. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.