BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - More details have surfaced in connection to a Baton Rouge Police officer who was suspended for allegedly shooting and killing a dog.
Officer Abraham Wilson III was suspended for five days for his alleged involvement in an officer-involved dog shooting.
According to the statement from the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association, on February 7, 2016, just before 6 p.m., Wilson was dispatched to the 5500 block of Adams Ave. in reference to a robbery. Upon arrival, Wilson observed two "obviously vicious" pit-bull terriers running towards his unit "barking and growling" as he searched for the victim, who was hiding under the house.
When the victim appeared from in between two houses, walking towards the two unsecured dogs, Wilson says he drove in that direction and quickly got out of his car, positioning himself between the victim and the attacking dogs. Wilson, acting as a barrier, then shielded the victim from the dogs using a Taser and mace. The report states Wilson was initially able to to stop the dogs' progress by "sparking" his Taser. He was then able to yell to nearby onlookers and neighbors to call for the assistance of Animal Control.
Wilson says he placed himself in the best position to protect and serve the public by moving towards the dogs while sparking the Taser a second time. Wilson was then able to unlock the rear door of his unit and get the victim into the backseat.
Once the victim was safe inside the car, the report says Wilson moved to the other side of the car and the pit-bulls began to approach him in an aggressive manner, growling. He attempted to spark the Taser for a third time, but his attempt was not successful, and he says the dogs then became more aggressive, which is when he drew his pistol as he backed away.
The report states while Wilson was backing away, one of the pit-bulls growled and charged at Wilson, which is when he fired his weapon. The dog was killed as a result.
After reviewing evidence, Chief Carl Dabadie initially suspended Wilson for ten days. Wilson appealed that decision to the Municipal Fire and Police Civil Service Board on Thursday, February 16, 2017 and the board reduced the suspension to five days.
There are several concerns that have surfaced from the Magnolia State Peace Officers Association as a result of the investigation. They are as follows:
- Ofc. Wilson acted in accordance to the policy and the training of the Baton Rouge Police Department regarding Use of Force, including, but not limited to, exhausting all viable options of the Force Continuum, yet he was still disciplined.
- The BRPD relied heavily on its policies to validate discipline, yet chose to ignore the same policy documents which justified all of Ofc. Wilson’s actions, specifically that which states that protection of human life is the first priority.
- The Chief admitted to having since changed the procedure of providing a copy and notifying all officers of their rights during questioning before the review board, which was one of the reasons that was listed as a violation of Ofc. Wilson’s due process rights. While the Chief’s change in policy from this point forward is commendable, it certainly didn’t remedy the issue before the board. As it relates to Ofc. Wilson, the failure to apprise him of his rights, in effect amounts to a gross violation of his fundamental due process right of notice.
- The Administration admitted to their lack of knowledge as well as to violating policy during testimony. There should not be a double standard for administration when it comes to the rules. The administration should be held to the same or higher standard than those of the officers it supervises. It should not be allowed to unilaterally hide behind the claim of ignorance to escape the corresponding liability and/or consequence.
- The greatest concern is the fact that there continues to be a disparity in punishments. Arrests, other discharges of firearms ruled unjustified and more egregious violations of policy received far less of a punishment.
According to Baton Rouge city-parish records, Wilson has been an officer with BRPD since July 30, 2012.