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Complaint against officer substantiated, investigation complete

By Canfan - 17 September 2014 16

AFP Professional Standards (PRS) has completed an investigation into a complaint that an ACT Policing officer deployed Oleoresin Spray (OC) towards a tethered dog in a backyard during the course of a search warrant in May this year.

Chief Police Officer for the ACT Rudi Lammers said that the complaint was the subject of an extensive investigation by PRS and that a breach of the AFP Code of Conduct for excessive use of force had occurred.

“The ACT Policing member will be subject to a number of recommendations including formal counselling and re-training. We will be seeking RSPCA cooperation in this training and further training to officers in dealing with animals during their course of duty,” CPO Lammers said.

“This matter received extensive media coverage, and our PRS investigation was very thorough, with careful consideration to evidence in addition to publicly released CCTV footage. This meant the investigation took longer than usual.

“At the conclusion of that investigation there was no evidence to indicate the dog was contaminated with OC spray or subjected to any other form of injury or mistreatment and there will be no criminal charges against the officer in question.

“I am well aware of the significant feedback and concerns expressed about this matter and wish to reassure the ACT community that the AFP takes allegations of misconduct by its members very seriously and does not tolerate misbehavior. In addition, ACT Policing does not condone or tolerate cruelty to animals in any form and the outcomes of this investigation further reinforce this,” CPO Lammers said.

Ms Tammy Ven Dange, Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA ACT said that for RSPCA ACT, the welfare of the animal is always the most important aspect of an incident like this.

“While we were not formally involved in the AFP’s internal investigation, we acknowledge their report and welcome the opportunity to work potentially alongside ACT’s Domestic Animal Services on training activities for not just this police officer, but for any officer that might come into contact with animals to avoid similar events from occurring again,” Ms Ven Dange said.

The PRS report on this incident will not be released publicly.

(ACT Policing Media Release)

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16 Responses to
Complaint against officer substantiated, investigation complete
Pork Hunt 8:42 am 21 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

justin heywood said :

Antagonist said :

I guess you missed the five different posts and publicly released CCTV footage clearly showing the dog was chained up. I absolutely agree that when police are doing their job that their safety comes first. It can be a very dangerous job, but that in no way explains or justifies what this officer did, or the pathetic disciplinary response from AFP Professional Standards.

And I guess you missed the part where the ‘person of interest’ keeps an aggressive dog chained up at the entrance to his house.

I reckon the spray (which clearly missed the dog) and the casually thrown stick (which looked to have missed as well), would be a lot less injurious to the dog than spending its days tied to a pole on a short chain.

You mean that was the *only* way in and out of the house? And that explains the officers intent when using OC spray and taunting the dog with a stick while it was on a chain? To extend your reasoning a little further, if I intend to kill a person (lets call it attempted murder) but missed and didn’t cause injury, then I have done no harm? Get real.

But hey, let’s not talk about where the obvious real cruelty is in this video – not when there’s a chance to bash the cops for being caught out looking stupid.

This isn’t about cop bashing. This is about the lame response from AFP ‘Professional’ Standards.

What should the response have been? The incident is on his record for life and will affect things like future promotions.

Antagonist 7:58 pm 20 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

Antagonist said :

I guess you missed the five different posts and publicly released CCTV footage clearly showing the dog was chained up. I absolutely agree that when police are doing their job that their safety comes first. It can be a very dangerous job, but that in no way explains or justifies what this officer did, or the pathetic disciplinary response from AFP Professional Standards.

And I guess you missed the part where the ‘person of interest’ keeps an aggressive dog chained up at the entrance to his house.

I reckon the spray (which clearly missed the dog) and the casually thrown stick (which looked to have missed as well), would be a lot less injurious to the dog than spending its days tied to a pole on a short chain.

You mean that was the *only* way in and out of the house? And that explains the officers intent when using OC spray and taunting the dog with a stick while it was on a chain? To extend your reasoning a little further, if I intend to kill a person (lets call it attempted murder) but missed and didn’t cause injury, then I have done no harm? Get real.

But hey, let’s not talk about where the obvious real cruelty is in this video – not when there’s a chance to bash the cops for being caught out looking stupid.

This isn’t about cop bashing. This is about the lame response from AFP ‘Professional’ Standards.

justin heywood 5:03 pm 20 Sep 14

Antagonist said :

I guess you missed the five different posts and publicly released CCTV footage clearly showing the dog was chained up. I absolutely agree that when police are doing their job that their safety comes first. It can be a very dangerous job, but that in no way explains or justifies what this officer did, or the pathetic disciplinary response from AFP Professional Standards.

And I guess you missed the part where the ‘person of interest’ keeps an aggressive dog chained up at the entrance to his house.

I reckon the spray (which clearly missed the dog) and the casually thrown stick (which looked to have missed as well), would be a lot less injurious to the dog than spending its days tied to a pole on a short chain.

But hey, let’s not talk about where the obvious real cruelty is in this video – not when there’s a chance to bash the cops for being caught out looking stupid.

Antagonist 11:58 am 20 Sep 14

Silentforce said :

“Ms Tammy Ven Dange, Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA ACT said that for RSPCA ACT, the welfare of the animal is always the most important aspect of an incident like this.”

Sorry Tammy, in incidents like these where Police are doing their job and put their safety/lives on the line (they are paid to do by us), I believe human safety comes first. This is despite another human placing an animal in a position of being disposable to protect themselves or property.

I guess you missed the five different posts and publicly released CCTV footage clearly showing the dog was chained up. I absolutely agree that when police are doing their job that their safety comes first. It can be a very dangerous job, but that in no way explains or justifies what this officer did, or the pathetic disciplinary response from AFP Professional Standards.

Silentforce 4:23 pm 19 Sep 14

“Ms Tammy Ven Dange, Chief Executive Officer of RSPCA ACT said that for RSPCA ACT, the welfare of the animal is always the most important aspect of an incident like this.”

Sorry Tammy, in incidents like these where Police are doing their job and put their safety/lives on the line (they are paid to do by us), I believe human safety comes first. This is despite another human placing an animal in a position of being disposable to protect themselves or property.

Masquara 2:56 pm 19 Sep 14

Strange – when an adolescent exhibits animal cruelty, the police jump all over it with “strong psychiatric indicator of future violent delinquency” …

Antagonist 2:15 pm 19 Sep 14

Sandman said :

justin heywood said :

If that dog ran at me I would use whatever I had at hand to deter the dog, just as this officer did.

Ditto, although given the options normally available on the belt of a police officer, the spray would be my second choice.

Seems mighty convenient that there was a camera trained on this dog and the video leaked out. I smell a stitch up.

Yeah. This guy was soooo smart that he just *knew* that the officer would pull out his OC spray and taunt the dog with a stick. Pure genius, and a criminal mastermind to boot.

dtc said :

Its a dog.

Based on his actions, that is how I would describe the officer. It was a cowardly dog act.

dtc 11:27 am 19 Sep 14

Its a dog.

Sandman 9:02 pm 18 Sep 14

justin heywood said :

If that dog ran at me I would use whatever I had at hand to deter the dog, just as this officer did.

Ditto, although given the options normally available on the belt of a police officer, the spray would be my second choice.

Seems mighty convenient that there was a camera trained on this dog and the video leaked out. I smell a stitch up.

justsomeaussie 7:49 pm 18 Sep 14

I have to remind myself that people on this forum are magical, that if they noticed a dog chained up and that dog jumped aggressively at them, that they wouldn’t flinch or have any impulse reaction. That their rational brain would work instantly and would realise that the threat of a charging dog is unsubstantiated.

No doubt then pull a lute out and compose a haiku of how beautiful the dog is.

urchin 2:42 pm 18 Sep 14

justsomeaussie said :

Alexandra Craig, I’m not sure what video you saw but it was certainly different than the one that was released to the media. In the real video, the dog goes to aggressively run up to the officer but is restrained by the chain. It’s then that the officer makes the poor decision of spraying at the dog; note that you can distinctly see that the spray doesn’t directly hit the dog, it doesn’t even make the range.

A position could simply be that if they dog did break the chain he would then have to defend himself as it is a large dog. It’s a snap decision; you can see how he jerks back when the dog runs at him.

Simply, he shouldn’t have sprayed the dog but I think people can appreciate that when a big dog runs at you it can be pretty intimidating.

Let’s not buy into the anti AFP phobia and try to stick to the facts as much as possible.

yes… the dog is restrained by the chain. that’s kind of an essential point. the dog cannot reach the man, therefore there is no reason to spray the dog except out of spite. oh, and let’s not forget that he throws a stick at the dog later. another bad “snap decision”?

the implication that this incident is somehow due to insufficient training on how to deal with animals is an insult to AFP officers. nothing about this is a lack of training, it’s a lack of decency towards animals. a more robust response toward the officer in question would have been in order. someone who is needlessly cruel toward animals tends to be cruel in other ways as well, and this kind of behaviour should be setting off alarm bells.

Antagonist 2:27 pm 18 Sep 14

justsomeaussie said :

A position could simply be that if they dog did break the chain he would then have to defend himself as it is a large dog. It’s a snap decision; you can see how he jerks back when the dog runs at him.

Simply, he shouldn’t have sprayed the dog but I think people can appreciate that when a big dog runs at you it can be pretty intimidating.

That must explain why the officer then decided to throw a stick at the dog. He armed himself with a stick to defend himself, and was using the OC spray to check the integrity of the chain that was holding back the four legged canine horror. Seriously – what was the officers intent when he sprayed that stuff? My username should give you a good clue.

Regarding ‘range’, I was been in Civic collecting a bunch of drunk mates when a junior officer nearby panicked and unleashed his spray. You do not need t be in range – that stuff burns your eyes and nose from quite some distance away.

“… ACT Policing does not condone or tolerate cruelty to animals in any form and the outcomes of this investigation further reinforce this,” CPO Lammers said.”

No. It does not reinforce this at all. If anything it reinforces the view that the police are not being held accountable for their actions or decisions, and only serves to undermine public confidence in the constabulary. Complaints against the police are being investigated by the police. It is like having the fox watch the hen house. This case simply illustrates the need to have an independent body to investigate complaints. The current system is broken.

justin heywood 2:20 pm 18 Sep 14

If that dog ran at me I would use whatever I had at hand to deter the dog, just as this officer did. The taunting of the dog after that was inexcusable, but the apparent subject of the complaint – the reflexive and wildly misdirected spray – was in my opinion justified. The guy is ‘known to police’, had a guard dog tied up in his yard and CCTV camera trained on the dog.

And if this man’s dog was so loved by him, why does it apparently spend its day on a short chain, tied to a pole in the open?

justsomeaussie 1:28 pm 18 Sep 14

Alexandra Craig, I’m not sure what video you saw but it was certainly different than the one that was released to the media. In the real video, the dog goes to aggressively run up to the officer but is restrained by the chain. It’s then that the officer makes the poor decision of spraying at the dog; note that you can distinctly see that the spray doesn’t directly hit the dog, it doesn’t even make the range.

A position could simply be that if they dog did break the chain he would then have to defend himself as it is a large dog. It’s a snap decision; you can see how he jerks back when the dog runs at him.

Simply, he shouldn’t have sprayed the dog but I think people can appreciate that when a big dog runs at you it can be pretty intimidating.

Let’s not buy into the anti AFP phobia and try to stick to the facts as much as possible.

Alexandra Craig 9:49 am 18 Sep 14

This guy got off with a slap on the wrist. The video clearly shows him spraying the dog for no reason and then continuing to taunt it. It’s animal cruelty. Can’t believe this guy kept his job.

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