COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — It was a year ago that a police officer shot and killed a dog named Chloe in Commerce City. The incident, which was captured on video, sparked outrage in the community and led to a trial for the officer. On Sunday afternoon, dog owners gathered at a Commerce City intersection to mark the anniversary.
“Our dogs are like family members, just like kids to us, and when you shoot one of them or you hurt one of our dogs, it’s just like hurting somebody else’s children or our family member,” said Don Stedman, an Aurora resident.
On November 24, 2012, as a neighbor’s camera rolled, Officer Robert Price shot and killed the three-year-old dog, an animal he considered threatening.
“Exactly a year ago,” said Shelly Holland, a Commerce City resident. “And to watch the video nowadays, it’s like it just happened. I can watch it now and I cry. I cry.”
Several weeks ago, a jury acquitted Price of aggravated animal cruelty. A civil suit was filed on behalf of Chloe soon after.
“You know O.J., he was found not guilty of murder but he was found liable of wrongful death,” said Juliet Piccone, an attorney and animal rights advocate. “So it’s kind of like our next attempt to get justice for Chloe.”
Chloe’s death helped prompted the passage of Colorado’s Dog Protection Act earlier this year. The law aims to teach officers non-lethal ways of dealing with dogs they encounter on the beat. Some believe the new law is weakened by various exceptions.
“I’m hoping the exceptions don’t swallow the rule,” Piccone said Sunday. “It’s definitely a good start but they’re not even going to be mandated to do that training for about another year.”
In the wake of his acquittal, Price has been reinstated to his job. He has not commented publicly on last year’s shooting incident.