APD apologizes for shooting death of dog
Facebook exploded internationally Monday at the death of Cisco, a blue heeler shot last Saturday by an Austin Police officer in a domestic disturbance call that went awry. Officer Thomas Griffin was responding to a 911 call – reportedly a woman being menaced and pursued by a drunken man – at the imprecise address of a triplex, when he encountered Michael Paxton in his driveway and ordered him to "show [his] hands!" Paxton was just coming out of his own backyard when his dog, Cisco, heard the commotion and came running and barking. The officer's in-car video does not show the shooting but records the sound – within a few seconds, the officer shouts both "show your hands!" and "get your dog!" followed immediately by a shot. Paxton's Facebook page ("Justice for Cisco") recounts the incident from his perspective; following a massive public outcry (80,000 "likes" as of late Wednesday), the APD relayed an official apology (reiterated personally to Paxton by Chief Art Acevedo on KLBJ-FM's Dudley and Bob Show), but said Griffin thought he was being attacked when he shot the dog. "We do apologize to Mr. Paxton," read the official statement, "and would like to express our condolences after the loss of his best friend Cisco." APD policy does allow the use of deadly force if an officer believes an animal is an "imminent threat"; the incident remains under APD review.
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