Justice for Duke
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Message from Lisa Brooks, the dog mom of Duke, who was shot and killed on his own property by an Ocoee Police Officer:
"I don’t often share on Facebook. So please forgive me that I do so now only to share some sad news.
Four years ago, Charlie and I moved to our new home in Ocoee, with a lakefront lot across the street where we could store our boat on the water. The road our home faces is a busy street, so to protect our dogs, we had the entire yard fenced and gated. Early afternoon this past Monday, an Ocoee police officer came to our home, opened and walked through our front gate, then began walking up our driveway towards our front door. Hearing a noise, our sweet, 11 year-old dog, Duke, ran out of his doggy door to greet his new “friend.” The police officer pulled out his gun and shot him in the head. Even as Charlie was standing in the doorway, the officer fired his weapon, killing our best friend.
Shortly after, at least 8 more police officers showed up at our house, a crime scene unit, and a lieutenant to “investigate.” They offered to call animal control to come get Duke. Two hours later, animal control showed up. They asked some questions. “Did it bite anybody?” No…HE was just at HIS home in HIS fenced yard where he was supposed to be safe. We watched as they picked Duke up by the legs, put him in a plastic bag and loaded him into their truck.
We were then asked to pay them $15 for the service they were providing of taking him away. Twenty minutes later, the remaining police officer on site got special permission from dispatch to pay the fee on our behalf. Thanks so much. I watched as they drove away and Charlie got out the hose to wash away the blood. I still stare at the spot in our yard where he died.
The lieutenant in charge gave us his business card with a case number and we were told that the incident would be investigated due to the officer firing his weapon, that the officer would be put on administrative leave during the investigation, and that a police report should be available within 48 hours. We waited a day and then called the number on the business card for an update on the investigation. “Your call cannot be completed as dialed. Please check the number and dial again.” We called the police department and put in his extension. “That is not a valid number.” We had no way to reach the lieutenant, except to call the administration desk, leave a message and wait for a call back. When we received a call, we were informed that the officer that killed our dog was still working and not on leave. On Friday when we called again, 96 hours after Duke was killed, we were told the police report was still not “complete”. However, we managed to get a preliminary copy. The offense identified in the report was “Suspicious Vehicle.” The officer had come to our house in the first place to inquire about our boat which was covered, anchored and properly registered on our lakefront. There was no mention of the officer firing his weapon or that he killed our dog. The fact that this preliminary report completely omits the actual crime does not leave us with much hope that the report will be factual or tell the complete truth.
For those of you that have animals, you will understand that Duke was a part of our family. And to Davin, Duke was his best buddy. Davin was inside our home when the shooting occurred, eating his lunch and startled by a gunshot, just 15 feet from his front door. “Duke” was his first word. It came out more like “Duu!”, but what he was saying was unmistakable when accompanied by a feverish pointing to Duke. Many of you have met Duke and know what a gentle and friendly dog he was. He was never a threat to anyone and his greatest offense was giving too may “kisses.” Duke would lie patiently through our lessons teaching Davin to always “pet gently.” Even when petting gently sometimes involved the pulling of hair and tail, Davin received nothing but sloppy dog kisses from Duke.
Some people may read this and think, “It was just a dog.” Although he was much more than that to us, the reason I share our story is bigger. We are scared and we are worried.
We are scared that a police man walked through the gate of our home and inflicted this violence at our front door for no good reason.
We are scared that pulling his gun and using deadly force was his first course of action when many others could have and should have been used.
We are scared because he showed no remorse.
We are worried because this officer was back at work right after the incident.
We are worried because it doesn’t appear that he will receive any repercussions from his actions or additional/corrective training.
We are worried because the next time this officer feels “threatened” he may very well take the same action and it may not be a dog that suffers.
Charlie and I thank you for reading our story. We understand we live in world where gun violence is a serious issue and hope you will share this to spread awareness that will initiate change and hopefully prevent something like this happening in the future.
Rest in Peace, Duu <3"
We're asking for the following:
* Appropriate action be taken against the officers for reckless discharge of their weapon.
* Ocoee PD immediately implement a Use of Force continuum applying to pet encounters that prioritizes de-escalation, to include mandatory HANDS-ON canine encounter training, be equipped with taser or batons, and exhaust all reasonable means in defusing situations before resorting to lethal force.
* Ocoee PD to implement a policy requiring officers to intervene if they witness improper use of force by their colleagues, and to report it to their supervisor and internal affairs.
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