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Justice for Rosie

13 Feb

Rosie the Newfoundland was a beloved member of the Wright family.

Tragically, Rosie was shot to death in her hometown of Des Moines, WA, by the police who were hired to keep her city safe. The recent Prosecuting Attorney’s report on this incident is both infuriating and inaccurate…

Rosie shot by police

Rosie the Newfoundland was a beloved member of the Wright family. True to her breed, she was a gentle giant who loved everyone she met. Tragically, this loving dog was callously shot to death in her hometown of Des Moines, WA, by the very police who were hired to keep her city safe. Click here to read the original story.

An inaccurate report

The recent Prosecuting Attorney’s report on this incident is both infuriating and inaccurate, mixing equal parts fact and fiction in a five-plus-page report that dismisses the severity of this case. According to the Prosecuting Attorney’s report, Sergeant Steve Wieland stated that the dog was “barking aggressively and foaming at the mouth,” implying that Rosie was rabid or otherwise a health concern to the public. Neither implication was accurate. According to the report, Sergeant Wieland and officers Graddon and Arico attempted to “discuss a plan to identify the dog and gain control of it.” That plan apparently entailed tazing the dog numerous times, and when that did not achieve the desired result, firing repeatedly into the frightened dog.

The resident’s story

According to the Prosecuting Attorney’s report, Rosie was in a resident’s backyard at the time of the fatal shooting. The report states that the residents were apparently warned to go into their home prior to the shooting. The residents, however, tell a different story. The homeowner was not given enough warning to go into the home, as the police and the report state; they were in fact barely able to get into their home with one of their children before the police opened fire. The homeowner rushed her two young children into the back room.  She closed her eyes and covered her ears the best she could in attempt to avoid witnessing the brutal killing of Rosie.

When comparing the dash cam video camera footage and the Prosecuting Attorney’s report, there are countless disturbing disparities. The Prosecuting Attorney’s report indicates that the officers used lethal force against the dog “because all non-lethal attempts to capture the dog had failed.” The non-lethal attempts, however, are documented on the video footage, and little effort is placed in these inept attempts.

Video documentation

The footage indicates that the officers initially acknowledge that Rosie is in her own yard, but the one of the officers, referring to Rosie as a “he,” states, “I hate to kill him in his own yard.” A mere seven minutes later, an officer is heard to say, “I’m trying to figure out the best way to shoot him.” Contrastingly, the Prosecuting Attorney’s report omits this initial assessment of the situation, stating instead that the officers were looking in to “non-lethal” attempts to capture the dog. Shooting is rarely, if ever, a viable non-lethal way to resolve any issue.

For the next 30-plus minutes, the officers are not discussing ways to resolve the issue, or if in fact, there even is an issue, as Rosie is in her own yard. They are instead discussing how to shoot Rosie. One officer is heard to say, “We can’t let him get out in the street. Somebody’s going to swerve and we’ll get blamed because we’re [expletive]…” The next hour, an officer is heard to say, “He lives here; I can tell.” Thus, even though the officers are aware that Rosie is probably in her own yard, their concern lies not with the welfare of the animal, nor her family, nor the general public, but with whether they will be “blamed” for a hypothetical situation. Almost two hours later, an officer exclaims, “Here he comes!” as Rosie apparently charges toward them. The officers begin discussing tazing Rosie, after which they begin to yell, “Bad dog, go home,” which is nonsensical given the aforementioned statement that she is in her own yard. The officers briefly discuss using a catch pole, but that conversation disintegrates when one of them concedes their inexperience with animal cases: “Okay, once we get him, what are we going to do with him?”

But it is all too clear what the officers intend to do. Later, an officer states, “I think he’s getting pretty mad. I think we should just shoot him. Just kill him,” reiterating their initial assessment of the situation. Another officer is heard saying “He’s going to fight like a [expletive]. I can choke him out.” A little more than an hour later, they taze Rosie, and she cries out in pain and fear and runs out of the yard. The officers have now created a situation where one did not exist prior to their “intervention.” Instead of using a catch pole, which is a customary first step, the officers use a tazer on Rosie. But Rosie’s coat was too thick for the tazer to achieve the desired effect. An officer is heard to say, “Man, that dog is big. That’s a big ol’ mean dog.” Another voice says, “I’m afraid he’s going to bite some kid down there, and we’re probably going to have to go chase him, aren’t we?” Instead of chasing Rosie, an officer suggests once again, “I’ll shoot him; let’s just go shoot him.”

Rosie’s last moments

While the Prosecuting Attorney’s report explicitly states that shooting was a last resort in this incident, the video footage shows that shooting was continuously discussed throughout their interactions with Rosie. Hours later, Rosie is tazed once again, and she flees with fear and pain once again. Officers are heard discussing how to shoot Rosie. Rosie is now hiding in a resident’s yard, and an officer states, “I should have just shot him on the sidewalk.” Minutes later, an officer makes light of the situation, stating, “I got him [tazed him] through the passenger window. You saw it? [laughs]. Did you get it on tape?” Rosie’s last terrifying, painful moments are nothing less than a comical nuisance.

Rosie runs and hides in the resident’s yard where she is eventually fatally shot. An officer is heard saying, “Oh, there he is…I can get a shot on him right there.” Minutes later, an officer asks, “Ready?” After the shooting, an officer again belittles Rosie’s tragic last moments, stating, “It’s funny, the first two shots [and] he didn’t whimper.” On another videotape, an officer is heard saying, “Nice,” when Rosie is shot. His tone is not one of concern or sadness, but a congratulatory remark for his co-worker.

Throughout the videotape footage, it is apparent that the officers knew that Rosie was initially in her own yard. Their first option for dealing with Rosie was shooting and killing her, which is inexplicable, given that she was in her own yard. At no point in the footage do the officers indicate that they are concerned for Rosie’s welfare, nor do they sound trained to deal with a nonhuman animal. The “plans” to capture Rosie are lacking, and instead, the conversation is dominated by how and when to shoot the innocent dog.

The woman who lived on the property where Rosie was killed indicated that the officers laughed and high-fived one another after the fatal shooting. This, of course, is omitted from the Prosecuting Attorney’s verbose report, which indicates that that fatal shot was delivered “to end the suffering of the dog.” Rosie’s suffering was nonexistent prior to this police “intervention.”

Pasado’s offering a reward

Pasado’s is still investigating this case and wants to make sure that there is justice for Rosie and the family that she left behind.

Pasado’s Safe Haven is offering a $250 reward for NEW, VERIFIABLE INFORMATION on the case.  Please call 206-300-7218 or email us here if you have information that can help us find justice for Rosie.


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