SWAT team feeling the heat after shooting dogs and not finding drugs

Posted By elaine on May 6, 2010

copsThe shooting death a dog by a SWAT team drug raid in Columbia, MO has caused a huge controversy. So much so it brought changes in Columbia police department policy and even threats to the officers’ lives. While I don’t condone the threats, I do think that it deserves a close look.

Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and Columbia Police Chief Ken Burton held a news conference today to address questions on the February 11th arrest of Jonathon Whitworth. The arrest itself wasn’t controversial, but when the SWAT team burst into the home they shot the family dogs, killing a pitbull and injuring a corgi with a kid watching. The worst part, the “big drug raid” only yielded a drug paraphernalia conviction and a $300 dollar fine.

Columbia Police SWAT Team video shows officers using force to enter Jonathan Whitworth’s home.  This attempted drug bust happened 8 days after authorities secured a search warrant for marijuana. Burton says this incident forced him to adopt a new policy for search warrants.
“In hindsight, if I had known the circumstances under which that warrant was going to be run that night, I would not have run it,” Burton said. “The reason for that is, under Missouri state law, once the department obtains a search warrant they are allowed 10 days to serve that warrant. It’s my opinion on a warrant of this nature it should be served as soon as possible after you get the warrant.”

With Whitworth’s wife and child present, police push him to the ground and cuff him. Gun shots and a screaming dog indicated that police shot and killed a pit bull and injured the front paw of a corgi.
“Every indicator to me shows that this was a justifiable shooting,” Burton said. “The dog was aggressive and the dog got shot.” But it is rumored that the pit ball was caged when shot by police, but police are denying this. 

“This is going to take review,” McDavid said. “We’re waiting on the final report. I appreciate Chief Burton’s very open and forthright explanation.”
Burton said that Columbia police officers have been receiving death threats through phone calls and e-mails from all over the world because the police video.
Whitworth has yet to file a lawsuit against the Columbia police department and he pleaded guilty to charges of possession of drug paraphernalia.
One does have to say “Really?” Is it worth crashing into a home and shooting the family dogs in front of a kid over a small marijuana bust? Even waiting the eight days it is obvious this man was not operation a large drug operation if all they found was some paraphernalia and they are lucky the kid didn’t run out with the dog and get shot. It would be different if they stopped a major drug cartel, but this was either a SWAT team needing someone to harass or some seriously faulty intel in my opinion. I did put a link to the video. A warning there is disturbing sounds when the dogs are shot and strong language.

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