HOLLY HILL, FL — A police officer opened fire and seriously wounded a man’s dog after forcing his way into the wrong residence while searching for a woman convicted of a consensual sex act.
Officers were searching for Josie Bobbitt — a woman who had violated probation for soliciting sex — when one of them disregarded “no trespassing” signs and warrantlessly wrenched open the gate leading to Richard Stotler’s backyard where his four-year-old Rottweiler named Lady resided.
Records show that it was 11:04 p.m. when the officers entered the property.
Lady was shot multiple times as she investigated the unwelcome intruders. Police claimed that she “lunged” at them, prompting at least one officer to open fire.
“They shot her for no reason,” Stotler wrote on his Facebook page Justice for Lady, which has amassed over 14,000 “likes” since the incident occurred December 27. “They were searching for a person that has not lived there nor been there for as long as we know.”
Stotler says after talking with officers for “about 10 minutes,” he went to watch television in his living room before the sound of gunfire suddenly erupted from his backyard. “I ran through the front door with my hands raised asking them what they had done. They started yelling at me to get on the ground, handcuffed me and put me in the back of a car.”
Stotler’s girlfriend Crystal Hightshoe saw a trail of blood leading to the couple’s bedroom closet, where she found Lady cowering.
“She’s just traumatized,” Stotler told Orlando’s Fox News affiliate. “She won’t even come outside at night anymore at all. This is something that should have been avoided. It should never have happened.”
Stotler is unsure if Lady will fully recover from her injuries. The left side of her head and shoulder form a ghastly collage of half-healed lacerations and a bullet fragment is still embedded in her neck. “One [bullet] nearly took her eye out,” he said.
The city is footing the veterinary bill for Lady’s recovery, which is currently over $3,000.
But financial restitution isn’t enough for many supporters, some of whom lined up in front of Holly Hill City Hall on New Year’s Day calling for disciplinary action against the officer who shot Lady.
“I’m sorry, they’re just poor four-legged creatures that need justice done for them,” said Daytona Beach resident Laura Panzarino.
“I understand where emotion comes from,” said Police Chief Mark Barker. “But as a 30-plus year law enforcement officer I also know the realities of the job that these officers do and the dangers that they face.” Barker declined to name the officer who shot Lady and said an internal investigation is pending.
“I hope [the media coverage] accomplishes some change and definitely some revamping of their so-called law enforcement,” said Stotler. “They were supposed to be here to serve and protect the community.”
American policing has deteriorated into all but a vestige of a bygone era of relative lucidity; a casualty of orchestrated fear and consolidation of control. Although there are individual Oath Keepers among the ranks who we should acknowledge and support, our police departments have systematically adopted a militarized temperament proportionate to the gear of war unleashed upon an increasingly weary public. The potential for brutality perpetually simmers beneath Kevlar vests and tactical chest rigs.
The lethal aggression and callous disregard for life will only be abated by holding perpetrators and their superiors personally accountable for their actions, not by “suing the pants off” jurisdictions whose leadership continually justifies diversion of resources to police agencies under the ever more absurd veil of public safety.
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Demand the name of the shooter and demand public accountability for the actions of Dec. 27th.
Mayor Roy Johnson
Phone: (386) 295-2214