According to newly released police body camera footage, a Minneapolis police officer shot two friendly, tail-wagging dogs while responding to a false alarm and later falsified the incident report to justify the unprovoked shooting. The officer also failed to activate his body camera until after the incident, but the video recorded 30 seconds of footage without audio before activation that captured the near-fatal shooting.
On July 8, Minneapolis police responded to a burglary alarm accidentally triggered by 18-year-old Courtney Livingston when she arrived at home. Instead of attempting to contact the residents, Officer Michael Mays entered the backyard when his body camera recorded a pit bull named Ciroc slowly walking towards the officer while wagging his tail.
Without provocation, Mays suddenly shot the pet in the face. As Ciroc collapsed to the ground, a second pit bull named Rocko stepped between them with his tail frantically wagging when Mays shot him in the face, side, and shoulder.
According to the incident report, Mays claimed that Ciroc had growled at him. But the newly released body camera footage revealed that despite not recording audio, the dog did not appear to growl and had been wagging his tail in a friendly manner before the needless shooting.
The police body cam video also revealed that Mays waited nearly 30 seconds after the initial shots before turning on his camera. According to Axon, the manufacturer of the police body camera that recorded the video, their cameras automatically record 30 seconds of video without audio before the officers actively turn on their body cams. The feature allows officers to record video evidence that may occur before the officer has a chance to activate their body cam.
“I dispatched both of them,” Mays told another officer after the shooting.
A few seconds after activating his body camera, Mays climbed back over the fence and exited the backyard. Approaching the front door of the residence, Mays found Livingston weeping in the doorway and asked her, “You live here? You know your backdoor was wide open?”
“I didn’t know you guys coming,” Livingston responded in tears. “I put in the wrong alarm code, and my mom was supposed to call you guys. So I figured she called you guys. I didn’t know you guys were coming.”
During a recent press conference, the dogs’ owner, Jennifer LeMay, asserted, “Ciroc didn’t growl, didn’t bark. He didn’t even curl his lips. Being a muted video, you’d see his teeth.”
LeMay added, “Rocko is physically at 75 percent. Emotionally and mentally he’s not there.”
Shortly after the incident, LeMay posted a surveillance video of Mays shooting her dogs before jumping over the fence to exit the backyard. On Thursday, LeMay’s attorney released the police body cam footage of Mays shooting Ciroc and Rocko, who are reportedly service dogs for LeMay’s children.
After offering to pay some of the veterinary bills for the dogs’ surgeries, the Minneapolis police stated that officers will receive additional training for encountering dogs on possible burglary calls. In order to pay for the medical expenses, a GoFundMe page has been set up to establish a fund for the wounded dogs.
Last week, Minneapolis Police Officer Mohamed Noor gunned down an Australian yoga instructor named Justine Damond after she called 911 to report a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her house. Damond was unarmed when she approached their patrol car and Noor fatally shot her through the window. Both officers failed to activate their body cameras.
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