FILER, ID — An officer took a neighborhood dispute over unleashed dogs into his own hands. After arriving at the dog-owner’s house, the cop immediately started kicking the dog and in a matter of 38 seconds had shot it to death. The community is outraged after viewing the video, showing a questionable use of force that the police chief praised.
The recording shows Filer Police Officer Tarek Hassani taking a report from a female complainant, and advises her on what to do about a neighbor that allegedly has repeatedly violated the city’s dog leash law. He empathized with her and said that the only real recourse would be to take the neighbor to court.
Officer Hassani then immediately hopped in his cruiser and drove up the street, while continuously being recorded by his video and audio monitoring equipment. He approached the Clubb family residence, which was hosting a 9-year-old’s birthday party inside. Hassani saw 2 dogs unleashed in the front yard.
Hassani parked and opened his door, and was greeted by the two pets. The recording shows that within 3 seconds of him opening his door, one of the dogs began yelping loudly, presumably, as Hassani acknowledges, because he kicked it.
“GIT!!” Hassani shrieked at the dogs, which were now howling at the aggressor in front of their house.
Hassani then moved in defiantly toward the dogs he had just provoked. After kicking a 7-year-old black Labrador named Hooch in the face, he drew his pistol and shot it. It fell to the ground, flopping around pathetically. After several seconds of crying in pain, it went silent.
The officer then went up to the house where he began berating Rick Clubb, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease and used his dog Hooch as a service animal.
“You don’t have to yell at me,” Clubb said after Hassani’s hostile introduction. Clubb was then threatened with jail time if he didn’t produce an identification.
Watch the video below. Warning: Contains graphic violence and foul language.
Hassani left Clubb with a $100.00 citation.
Clubb promised to follow up on the incident, and has since called for the firing of Officer Tarek Hassani.
“He didn’t have to pull out his .45 and shoot my dog,” Clubb said. “It was right outside my son’s bedroom. What if it had ricocheted through the window?”
Hassani explained to another officer after the altercation ended, “I get out to talk to the people, two dogs come around me, one of them’s growling and snarling. I kick it. It comes back around, now it’s growling and snarling. I kick it again. Then it lunges at me, I’m like, fuck you. So, I just shot it.”
Neighbors did not take kindly to the incident.
“I don’t feel secure with a police officer running around being a cowboy,” said Ryan Magnelli, a fellow Filer resident. “Why didn’t he just pepper spray the dog?”
Clubb told KTVB, “My dogs, they’d get out, yes, but you don’t have to shoot them. There’s other ways around it besides shooting them.”
Mark Deaton, another concerned citizen, started a Facebook page calling for the firing of the the reckless cop. It has amassed thousands of fans in just days. He is organizing a protest this week.
Whether it will have an impact remains to be seen. The chief praised his officer for killing the dog.
“My decision was that [Hassani] did a good job and he was totally justified in putting the dog down,” explained Police Chief Tim Reeves to a local Fox affiliate.
Was the Dog Owner Culpable?
It is rather clear that Mr. Clubb’s dogs were left unattended and unleashed. His local town ordinance prescribed a fine as a penalty. The officer was authorized to write the ticket.
However, the handling of the situation could have been much less provocative towards the dogs. It is rather disingenuous to label the dogs as “aggressive” after striking them within 3 seconds of exiting the vehicle.
Given the praise of his superior, it seems likely that Officer Hassani will be found to be “justified” in his use of force. But just because he can get away with something doesn’t mean he should. Hassani had other options.
He could have tried to befriend the animals — which showed no aggression until the initial strike. He could have used his sirens or a loud air horn to scare them away. He could have simply gotten back in his car if he felt such a life-threatening fear. He could have easily utilized one of his less-lethal tools in deterring the dogs (pepper spray, baton, taser). Or, as a last resort, he could have fired his gun into the ground to scare them off.
Instead, Hassani boldly stomped in, kicking the dogs immediately, and aimed his firearm with the intent to kill at the first possible opportunity. His propensity toward using deadly force before all other options had been exhausted shows a critical flaw in his judgement. If he would use such a callous approach toward dealing with a pet, can his community trust him to police their families? Perhaps these incidents should be viewed as a warning sign of a man who has found himself in the wrong profession.
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Call for accountability for trigger-happy Officer Tarek Hassani.