The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office sergeant who killed a neighbor’s dog while off duty in May has been cleared of any wrongdoing.
An Internal Affairs investigation found “no allegation of misconduct or violation of department policy” by Sgt. Bradley Shivers, according to Sheriff’s Office spokesman Christian Hancock.
“There is no evidence to dispute Shivers’ statement that the dog was aggressive toward him,” according to the Internal Affairs report. “He shot an unsecured dog he perceived as being a threat to his safety on his personal property.”
Shivers shot Goose, a 1-year-old, 40-pound basset hound mix, after the dog went into his San Marco backyard through a 3-foot hole in a fence that was under repair. Shivers and his family were on their pool deck when the dog circled “barking with aggression,” according to the initial incident report.
The sergeant fended the dog off with a rake, which he said he had done on earlier occasions. He told his family to get in the pool, then ran into the house, got his personal gun and returned to the yard. He resumed swinging the rake at the dog, lost his balance and fell down, after which the dog “lunged toward him” and he fired a single shot to the dog’s head, according to the report.
Goose, who had been adopted from Jacksonville Animal Care and Protective Services, later died at an animal hospital.
The initial Sheriff’s Office investigation was closed with no charges.
The dog’s owner, Chelsea Pavish, did not witness the incident but said Shivers’ account of Goose’s behavior was out of character for the dog. She said she remains distressed by what the Internal Affairs report called the “unfortunate outcome,” but is not surprised Shivers was cleared.
“My initial reaction was anger and disbelief,” she said Tuesday. “I knew the odds were against me having a JSO employee do a misconduct investigation on [one of] their own.”
Pavish said she and her partner, Chelsea Thompson, have discussed the shooting with an attorney but have not decided whether to proceed. Relations with Shivers, her neighbor, are still tense, she said.
“It got to the point where we didn’t want to make it worse when we still have to live there,” Pavish said. “We aren’t in a spot financially to move, and we aren’t in a spot financially to hire an attorney that requires payment up front.”
They also complained about the officers who responded to the shooting, who they said focused on Shivers and spent little time with them and neglected to explain the investigative process. The Internal Affairs report said the officers did not violate any “directives” but could have provided “some information and explanation” to Pavish and Thompson.
“The information would have provided clarity … during the stressful time … without compromising the investigation,” according to the report.
Since 2003, 11 citizen complaints have been filed against Shivers, including four concerning excessive force. He was exonerated in three of the excessive-force complaints and received a supervisor’s referral letter in the fourth, according to his officer history.
Fred’s Note; Thank you Beth – and as we all know there is no shortage of stories like this, this one provoked a massive ground swell of responses; http://catchfred.com/freds-news/not-guilty-baltimore-police-officer-who-slit-dogs-throat/