McKEES ROCKS, Pa. — A Pennsylvania councilwoman has accused her borough's lone police dog of racial profiling, leading to calls that the canine be killed.
Dolpho, a 5-year-old German shepherd, can sniff out the difference between marijuana, heroin and cocaine. The dog came from Europe two years ago and is trained in drug detection and patrol.
But councilwoman Wanda Jones Dixon said Dolpho can also tell the difference between blacks and whites, and should be put to sleep.
On Friday, while K-9 officer Schawn Barger wrestled with a drug suspect, he said a quick-release button on his belt was activated, accidentally opening a door to the K-9 wagon.
The dog lunged from the vehicle and bit a 9-year-old boy on the leg instead of the suspect, dragging him for about 20 feet, family members said. The boy is black.
Councilwoman Dixon told the city council she has received six complaints about Dolpho in the past year. Three of the people who complained were involved with drugs. Three others were blacks who believe the dog jumped at or attacked them because of their race.
"I had received complaints from African-Americans saying they believe the dog only attacks African-Americans," councilwoman Dixon said Monday. "I think the dog makes the distinction."
Officer Barger, who has worked with Dolpho for more than two years and takes the dog home with him at night, said the dog has never gone after the wrong person before. He said Dolpho became confused during a tense situation.
"The dog saw movement. There was a lot of noise — a lot of screaming," Barger said. "It was basically just complete chaos and the dog, he just could not tell who the bad guy was and who the good people were."
The boy was treated for a dog bite and released Friday. He limped into the council meeting Monday with his mother, Lorraine Livingston.
"This is something that will take him a while to get over," Livingston said. "The officer had no control over that animal. That dog should be put to sleep."
Experts differ on whether dogs can discern race.
The owner of the Tom Brenneman School for Canines near Lawrence, Kan., has trained more than 600 dogs for police departments nationwide. He said dogs determine targets by scent alone and see only gray and white.
Tom Brenneman said the dogs can be trained to recognize the scent of drugs, explosives and also that dogs can smell fear.
"As far as it being black or white or Hispanic, that doesn't have anything to do with it," he said.
A national expert on animal behavior at Tuft's University School of Veterinary Medicine said dogs not only can determine race, but can develop prejudices similar to humans. Dr. Nick Dodman said that prejudice can be based on a lack of exposure to different people or because of a bad experience.
Dolpho has since been taken off active duty, but the department is standing behind him.
Chief Robert Martineau said the dog is good around children and even visits area schools and day care centers.
"To say the dog is racial ... that's ludicrous. That doesn't make sense," Martineau said.
" Future years will never know the seething hell and the black infernal background of countless minor scenes and interiors, (not the official surface courteousness of the Generals, not the few great battles) of the Secession war; and it is best they should notï¿½the real war will never get in the books." ~ Walt Whitman
quote:Originally posted by Trollstoy
Yes you stupid fuck, it was the kid's fault he got bit, no wait it was his parents fault.
'Cause lord knows the cops never do anything wrong.
Sweetness, I'm merely astonished at the irony of "caring parents" who are chagrined when their children are bitten by confused police dogs, when hanging out while some doper is being arrested. Do you not find that a tad odd?
Dogs are not perfect; having trained dogs for search-and-rescue work, I know that a variety of factors can lead to losing the scent (following a deer instead, dampness or dryness, the general terrain). It is safe to assume that a k-9 cop would be no different. Dog leaps out to save his partner, and bites the wrong person.
Like I said, if the perp had had a gun instead, and it went off, the child could be mistakingly shot while the arrest is taking place. So again, why would a caring, concerned parent allow her child to stand by in the middle of an arrest? A 9-year old, especially.
I know that this trolling game of yours is amusing and such, but really, if you're going to take the time to reply, at least take the time to read first, and to think over the matter before hitting the send button.
And I don't see the point of your comment: "...the cops never do wrong." Where in the message did I state that? Precisely. My main problem with this is that this wonderful victim mentality, in its pursuit for unearned wealth (a.k.a. lawsuits), would seek a responsible party, and somehow blame the cop for not finding the weapon before the criminal was able to fire it. "he should have known better!" "he needs more training!" "Let's sue the department and the police academy as well."
If you can't see where this leads to, then I sincerely pity you.
Brother, I must respectfully disagree with your intimation that this was entirely the fault of the police. While Sister Bunkum, who oneday I shall mercilessly flame to drive up her post totals, should I forsake a Heatherian way of life, was quite right- if a cop is struggling with a suspect, that's the last place any child should be. One can hardly blame the kid for being a kid- but it certainly mitigates the burden of responsibility that you are trying to have shouldered in its entirely by the police. Propagation of "it's always the police's fault" sentiments strikes me as particularly loathesome.
So please note, I did not smite you with the Rod of Correction, Brother Trollstoy, but rather just a gentle rap of reproach upon the shoulder. I still respect your personhood and acknowledge that you deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
bunkum and PM,
You two braindead morons should learn to read. I said it was not the kids fault, it was probably not the Parent's fault and it was most likely the cops fault, but not once did either of you two legal dimwits show me how it was the kids fault. Noooooooooo. Ya'll just go straight to the, "Don't blame the cops card" Show me how I said it was ALL on the cops PM. Show me where I said "lawsiut" bunkum. Fact is the Kid did nothing wrong, the Parents were contributorily negligent and the cops were at least negligent. The comment that I was replying to (Why was the kid around?) was a stupid comment, but did that stop you two dolts from piling on when you have no idea as to what you are talking about?
If you want to show me how the kid was liable or the parent were not contributorily negligent or the cop was not negligent... Bring it...