Missouri SWAT team shoots family dog during raid over “small amount” of marijuana

Do you have a story of police killing your dog?  Do you want to tell your story on NORML SHOW LIVE?  You can remain anonymous and it only takes a ten minute phone call.  Contact me at stash@norml.org.

Update:  News of this raid and the video has gone viral and the Columbia Police Department is scrambling to put the spin on this.  Let them know how you feel; vote in this local news poll on the issue:


(Columbia Daily-Tribune) In response to widespread “misinformation” developing on message boards and blogs, as well as a death threat toward Columbia police officers, Columbia Mayor Bob McDavid and Burton held a news conference Thursday afternoon.

Burton said police have fielded questions from several agitated callers concerning the two dogs shot. Some callers have received incorrect information that the corgi is the dog that was killed for being aggressive toward officers, and others told police they were told the pit bull that was killed because of its aggressive behavior was in a cage.

“It’s simply not true,” Burton said.

The chief, who is personally conducting the internal investigation, walked reporters through his understanding of the incident. Three officers shot at the pit bull, and the first missed completely, which is when the corgi is believed to have been shot in the paw, he said. The pit bull acted aggressively toward a SWAT member again as they pushed into the home, which resulted in the animal being shot, he said. After being shot, it moved to attack a SWAT member, which is when the dog was killed.

Here it comes: the victim was a dangerous druggie, a narcotics kingpin with a lethally aggressive pit bull.  Because two confidential informants (read: snitches with something to gain by rolling on someone, true or false accusations be damned) alleged he had large amounts of marijuana and a police garbage search yielded pipes and baggies with pot residue on them.

(Columbia Daily-Tribune) “It was unfortunate timing,” said Lt. Scott Young, SWAT commander.

Deputy Chief Tom Dresner, former SWAT commander, has said he is confident narcotics were in Whitworth’s residence before police entry.

Columbia police spokeswoman Jessie Haden said there sometimes was a lag between the time a warrant was issued and when SWAT could execute the warrant. The problem was SWAT members’ primary assignments, such as their role as beat officers or investigators, would take precedence over SWAT and they would have to work overtime to participate in SWAT operations.

So, in the police opinion, the mistake wasn’t in sending automatic-weapon wielding cops into the family home, shooting up the place with a child present and killing the family pet.  It’s that they served the warrant too late to catch the victim with what they believed to be large amounts of weapons of mass destruction, er, marijuana.

There is a Columbia City Council meeting on May 17th at 7pm.  Blogging’s great, but in-person protesting and activism are better.  I’m calling on our Missouri NORML chapters to come out and demand an end to these tactics.  Click the link, join the one near you, and get involved in fighting back.

We’ve told the story of drug war canicide – dog murder – before here on the NORML Stash Blog. From the LAPD dog killing during dispensary raids to the Buffalo man who pleaded with cops to let him put his beloved pets in another room before cops gunned them down, and even the mayor of a town in Maryland forced to sit handcuffed near a pool of his slaughtered black labs’ blood during a SWAT raid that turned out to be in error.

This incident in Missouri happened in February and is just one of the 100-150 militaristic raids on homes every day in America, most often to serve narcotics warrants, which usually means marijuana, the substance involved in almost half of all drug arrests.  But never before have we brought you actual video of law enforcement protecting us from adults smoking a bowl in their own home and serving us by executing family pets in front of small children.

(Warning: if you love your dog as much as I love Roscoe P. Coltrane, my Jack Russell terrier, scratch its belly and get to your serenity place before you view this.  It is very disturbing.)

If you notice toward the end of the video you can see what appears to be a small bong on the coffee table.  The Columbia, Missouri SWAT team sure took down a big-time drug kingpin while he slept peacefully with his wife and seven-year-old child, huh?

(Columbia Daily-Tribune) Police discovered a grinder, a pipe and a small amount of marijuana, Haden said. Because the SWAT team acts on the most updated information available, the team wanted to enter the house before marijuana believed to be at the location could be distributed, she said.

“If you let too much time go by, then the drugs are not there,” she said.

Drug distributors traditionally have a history with firearms, which is why the SWAT team is used when executing such warrants, [police spokeswoman Officer Jessie] Haden said. If the SWAT team believed they could have executed the warrant successfully during the daytime when the wife and child were not present, they would have, she said.

Well, the “drugs” weren’t there, now, were they?  But let’s pretend they were.  Let’s say the man was holding enough marijuana to qualify for a felony charge in Missouri (over 35 grams).  Are we to understand that holding any more than an ounce and a quarter in Missouri is justification enough to send SWAT to burst into a man’s home late at night and start firing weapons and slaughtering his pets and terrorizing his wife and children?

And what exactly is it that made the SWAT team believe it couldn’t execute a successful warrant in the daytime?  The presence of his pit bull and corgi (yes, these cops shot a corgi) or that his wife and child would be away so he wouldn’t mind going down guns blazing to protect his lucrative marijuana empire?  And if he had enough pot to have a lucrative marijuana empire worth shooting cops over, how exactly did he manage to get rid of it all in the few hours between daytime and that night?

No, folks, the justification is simple: shock and awe.  These cops are taught that “druggies” are dangerous armed hostile mentally deranged lunatics who all emulate Tony Montana from Scarface.  Then they are taught how to dominate and intimidate and that one of the quickest ways you can do so is to show them you have the power of life and death.  And they do this as a message to all the other “druggies” out there that they are not safe and that they are serious about engaging the “enemy” and winning the “war”.

Radley Balko at Reason’s Hit and Run (a top libertarian blog) has been following the story and promises an update from the victim’s mother, who was present at the raid.  Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake (a top progressive blog which has recently begun a new campaign for legalization), Scott Morgan at Drug War Chronicle, and Pete Guither at DrugWarRant have also been following the story.

In the end the victim pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of possession of drug paraphernalia in exchange for dropping the charges of misdemeanor marijuana possession and second-degree child endangerment.  Yes, you read that right: the police burst into this man’s home, shooting weapons in his home and killing his dog with his seven-year-old sleeping in the next room and he’s the one who was endangering his child by smoking pot in his own home.

P.S. You’d think the ASPCA or PETA would be all over this, wouldn’t you?  I did, but found no reference to any police-shooting-dog stories on either of their websites.  I once got in contact with people in their organizations but got no interest from them on addressing these clear cases of cruel and unethical treatment of animals.  I even tried contacting Bill Maher, a high-profile PETA supporter and marijuana legalization supporter to spotlight the topic, but I’ve never received any response.  None of these animal rights supporters seem to think a family pet has a right to be protected from police brutality if the owner is thought to be a “druggie”.

P.P.S. Paul Armentano reminds me that in 2004, seven in ten Columbia, Missouri residents voted for the end of the “arrest, prosecution, punishment, or sanction” citizens for their medical use of marijuana, and six in ten voted for the decriminalization of marijuana for personal use.  So the dog was murdered and the family terrorized over something only 30%-40% of residents believe is a crime.

381 thoughts

  1. yea its because of stuff like this we should all be willing to defend them selves from even law enforcement

  2. Man, I heard corgis were dangerous…. I mean honestly, a dog isn’t going to do anything to you with all that gear on.. I love how they didn’t answer any of his questions, but they have a right to know his name? Sorry my name is a citizen…

  3. This just crushed my soul. I cannot believe these officers shot a dog that wasn’t even trying to harm them. The dog was just behaving as most dogs do. I have an absolute hate of all police officers now. These cops are going to get away with this too! That’s the insane part. All of this over a plant that grows in the ground. The plant isn’t causing the problem, the fascist laws are. Hopefully these laws change, and hopefully this man and his family can get some form of justice for the wrong doing of the police who “protect and serve” our community.

  4. I wonder how each of these asshole swat drones would feel if THEY were busted in upon in the middle of the night and a member of THEIR family was excecuted simply for them just being an asshole? Because it’s about the same freakin difference.

  5. This poor family. I thought the police were supposed to protect and serve, not harass and murder.

  6. The time will come for us all when we shall be judged. Those with the power break the rules and the weak follow them? I choose to be one with power and the ability to empower that follows the meaning of life and not it’s boundaries. I will provide my own protection for me and my family and friends. I will make my own way. I don’t need a false sense of protection given by a group that believes in actions such as this to those who have shown no sign of violence. So billions of tax dollars annually can be spent on arming/militarizing those who aren’t looking out for the people/country they swore, under oath, to protect. Cops will say “Oh, we don’t make the laws, we just enforce them.” Really? Then why do you lobby/$spend$ so much”? If you don’t make the laws then quit lobbying to have them changed/or in this case kept the same! The politicians make the laws and they don’t abide by them, passing bills that don’t include them or their families, and the police don’t make the laws, or abide by them, they just enforce them.If an officer is caught doing something illegal what usually happens? You guessed it leave of absence with pay. Politicians engaging in illegal activity get even better treatment. WHO’S WATCHING THEM! WHO’S HOLDING THEM ACCOUNTABLE. When a SWAT team comes into a residence who is watching them to makes sure their not planting evidence?! WHO’s WATCHING THEM! If they can’t talk you into believing them, BS propaganda, they resort to persecution, violence and destruction by any means necessary. Lets look at it realistically. Who pays/lobbies the politicians? Rich corporations. Who makes the laws? Politicians. Who makes sure the laws get followed? Police. Who elects the politicians? We do. Who lies and turns their back on their people? Those who’ve been corrupted. Who remains silent as our country and planet are systematically and environmentally destroyed? Everyone! America and the rest of the world is in BIG trouble if things continue on this path! Get ready because the end is inevitable. Perhaps it could be that it’s not the end everyone is thinking. They’ve put a price on life and they don’t want you to know the actual amount that life commands. What does it mean to you? Can you say modern day slavery? I knew you could.

  7. I thought Obama issued a directive for the police departments and the justice department to stop going after cannabis issues this minor.

    I guess he doesnt keep his word after all, and there will be no “change” as he promised.

  8. I agree with Moonlight Sonata’s technique. The first amendment gives us all the right to contact, say, the Columbia, Missouri SWAT team or the state attorney general’s office with our views.

    Yes, thousands of emails may be ignored with a click, but add dozens of well reasoned, articulate faxes, letters and calls a day and you have their attention. Of course, add your letterhead if you are a journalist or an attorney.

    That forces them to weigh the legal repercussions of any reply.

    Remember: Call. Write. But be polite!

    Columbia Police Department
    600 East Walnut
    Columbia, MO 65201-4491
    573-874-7652 / FAX: 573-874-3142

    see also:



  9. YOOOO. When I first saw this video I thought to myself what kind of man feels threatened by a corgi and a dog that is locked up in a cage. A pu$$y ass coward Thats who. These cops wasted thousands and thosands of dollars of our money and ruined lives. Nothing good came out of this at all. Maybe US the public can use this video to stop this drug war. I wish me and my boys could roll on these cowards with shotguns and m-16’s and ended their sorry asses. I hope next time those cops roll into a real drug dealers house and get their asses handed to em.

  10. The police who do things like this, and the officials that continue to allow it to happen are just as bad as the Nazis – very little difference in my opinion.

    I pray that President Obama and at least a few of our brave politicians will step up and demand and end to this terrible injustice that continues to be a nightmare for so many good Americans!

    I just cannot understand how anyone could possible believe that legalizing marijuana, and subsequently regulating in a manner simily to tobacco and alcohol, could be worst than what is currently the status quo…

    I’m an ex-marine and I’m embarrased to have volunteered to fight for a country that treats it’s citizens this way. It is a form of discrimination in my opinion and it is absolutely wrong!

  11. Check out the prisonplanet.com view of the cannabis raid: (approx 11 min vdo)


    “This is an illegitimate, criminal, narcotics trafficking government. Stop shipping the drugs in government, and stop using it as a pretext to pack your private prisons and raid peoples’ houses, while the cops get stinking rich off all the drug money and drugs they steal. Our government is a drug dealing criminal operation, and we have to take it back. Decriminalize drugs right now to cut off the drug money to the scum bag banks that launder it”

  12. Are you seriouse? this is messed up all to hell. i refuse to respond or talk to any police officfer under any sercumstances. they dont need to no my name, im too young for them to care. i get harrased for skateing all the time. can someone tell me if a police officer can cus you out?

  13. Absolutely a case of excessive force…. “The prestige of government and police has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land the passing laws which cannot be enforced”……Albert Einstein.

  14. I heard shots coming from what looked like a kitchen, and then I see a dog walk passed the guy on the ground after all the shots had been fired, and the dog had no limp, at that point, they’re claiming a dog was shot in the foot and one was killed. It looks like one dog was on the other side of the house when all the shots got fired in the other side of the house. Not to mention, we hear a dog wine, then get shot and stop winning. If a dog lived and was shot in the foot that whole video should have been filled with dog wimpering.

  15. im not sure if this has been said yet or not there are too many comments to read them all but i had to say, if there is some sort of (drug bust) and somone does shoot back and they kill a leo,s dog dont they get charged with murder? WHY IS IT NOT THE SAME FOR US? FAMILY pets think about it, they are part of your family doesnt matter that they are on all four and cannot speak i have seen this video 2x and both times i heard that guy damn near cry when he found out his dog was murdered.

  16. This is a complete act of tyranny.

    I hope the police officers involved in this are seriously punished by their superiors or something. But it wont happen. Disgusting!!!

  17. So many gross examples of humanity in this world I am constantly ashamed to live in. That video makes me glad that everybody on this Earth dies. No matter what you did in life, you will die. No matter what you believe, you will die. Someone will discover your dead body one day. Who’s it gunna be?

    That humbling reminder is why I sleep so good at night.

  18. Who can I contact in the state of Connecticut to forward this to and attempt to take action? What else can I do as a college student / civillian?

  19. This is another perfect area of the country for police departments to get their budgets cut due to the bad economy. All of these law enforcement officials need either to take an across-the-board cut so they all can keep their jobs or some of them need to be let go. That will sink it into their thick skulls that marijuana needs to be legalized and some of the tax revenues from it used to pay them. A consolidation of police departments and contracting out to a different low bidder for neighboring police services to downsize to a regional force is called for here.

    I will it so. I command it.

  20. he got a charge for the bong on the table smoking pot around them. what about the beer?? our kids must be taught not to touch dads beer so what really is the difference…….

  21. :o!!! Oh my gosh!! I don’t know what I would have done if they shot my dogs !! THAT IS HORRIBLE! 🙁 Poor kid, I am sure that horrible experience will stay with him forever. 🙁

  22. These cop are wearing FULL body armor and carry heavy weapons. You couldnt hurt them with a baseball bat and a machette. There is no excuse to shoot a dog in any circumstance (unless there is 20 rabid, trained to kill pits). This pit lived peacefully with a corgi and a child! The worse case (I mean WORSE) you hit it with the butt of the gun (let alone: mace, rubber bullets, tazer, or just kick it with the steal toe boot your wearing).

  23. This is awful. It jus goes to show you how immoral, disgusting, cruel and inhumane the people who are supposed to PROTECT us are. What did the dog haveto do with the whole situation? these cops were obviously a bunch of jackasses thinking they are above the law and can do anything they want including murder a family pet with the child right there. People make me sick these days. Things like this are what make me want to help the world to be a better place…

  24. police aren’t really here to serve and protect,
    more on the lines of authoritize and harass.

    its sad that if i wanted to call the cops for someone breaking in my house that i’d be too scared to just cause the of the fact that they would find any cannabis or paraphenalia against me.

  25. Here’s what I sent to the CoMo police
    After watching the video of your SWAT team executing a search warrant for possible marijuana dealing, I would just like to say that I believe the actions that your officers took were incredibly over the line. Your job is to protect and serve the people, and by carrying out these types of destructive home invasions you are not doing your job.
    I understand that in the eyes of all LEOs marijuana is a dangerous drug that makes people go crazy, but I believe that you have a moral responsibility to do some research not only on the real effects of marijuana, which in nearly every unbiased medical research shows cannibis to be less harmful than nearly all other vices out there.
    You also have a moral responsibility to do a proper investigation of a tip instead of going in guns ablazing. Even though in this case some marijuana was found, how often does it occur that nothing is found. What kind of country have we become where we are willing to subject innocent people to this kind of brutality in order to catch someone who is hurting no one.
    Better the guilty go free than the innocent incarcerated. That is what this country was meant to be, and you have trampled on that. Thanks for making America into a police state instead of the land of the free.

  26. This is the most disgraceful thing I’ve ever seen smoker or not. They don’t deserve to wear a badge and hope they burn in hell for all eternity. Nothing but f***ing cowards with a gun.

  27. I won’t go as far as that other guy that said he feels happy when he hears that a cop got shot, but I certainly don’t feel bad about it either. The only problem is that cops getting shot only gives them more excuses for their excessively violent behavior and unnecessary armament. Our local small-town pigs have fricken UZIs for some reason.

  28. I am a member of LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, There are 20,000 members and growing. Most are retired cops,DEA,FBI,judges,undercover narcs. These people realize this kind of thing is wrong, and want to legalize drugs, visit leap.cc. Click community–forums–War on Drugs–War on cannabis. I have started this forum using excerpt from Jack Herer’s book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, over 250 posts, over 7,000 veiws since Dec. 29 2010. I have alerted the members of LEAP, I would expect some raking over the coals of these cops for their action by the members of this group. I joined this group, after finding it on jackherer.com as one of the links on the homepage.

  29. THE TOTALITARIAN MENTALITY STRIKES AGAIN. If you put SS INSIGNIAS on their uniforms, they would look like a bunch of 21ST CENTURY INQUISITOR NAZI STORMTROOPERS. Could you imagine what it would have been like without the video recording. The FEDERAL OVERLORDS will treat marijuana users as the untouchables in our society as long as their is MARIJUANA PROHIBITION. Human righrs going down the drain, now they have to pick on the animals. Boy, I bet that STORMTROOPER felt good shooting that dog. He must of shit in his uniform when he saw that dog and thought he was threatened with his life. YOU 21ST CENTURY INQUISITOR, get a real job and a real life. Give some people badge and they turn into power junkies and legal vigilantes, above the law. I thought Judge Dredd was a movie character, I AM THE LAW!

  30. Wow this is just terrible. I cant believe stuff like this goes on.

    Poor dog.

    I hope this ends these awful raids.

  31. I’ve noticed a considerable amount of outrage and every bit of it justified. I just wanted to add that this type of thing happens all the time. Not in the suburbs or most predominately white communities. Ive lived there and in some pretty poor inner city areas, and in the latter this is how the police operate, all the time. They are THE armed force of the government at the local level and this is what they do. The father seemed to be hispanic or chicano and I know for damned sure this did not happen in any “nice” community.

  32. Soooo when/if we were to shoot a K-9 in OUR home then that is the same as shooting an officer, likewise, if that K-9 died as a result of being shot, then we would be charged with murder of a police officer. WTF how is it ok for them to come in guns blazing and kill your animals/family members at will with no consequences for thier ruthless and unconstitutional actions. COME ON AMERICA WAKE UP. WE MUST REVOLT AGINST TYRANNY!

  33. You know what truly disgusts me about these people. I bet every single one of them especially the shooter of the dogs believe in god and believe in the bible or some sort of religion. Most likely they are not atheist. Its funny how people live their lives every day saying they believe in god and live like this. It really shows that even good people have no morals and no true faith.

  34. what they do – The eerie thing about this is that it WAS in a relatively nice community. You can read the news stories and get the address and Google map it – it’s a nice, I’m surely mostly white, upper-middle class neighborhood. When it comes to crushing the “evil” of cannabis with an iron fist, the stupidity and hypocrisy of law enforcement really can’t always be measured by class.

  35. that is absolute bullshit. those fucking pussy ass pigs should get the fuck beat outta them. there was no fuckin reason for that at all. those cops should have there kids drug outta there house in the middle of tha night with armed assailaints and have them see there family pets get blown away for no fuckin reason. i cant believe they got away with that legally. that is fuckin insane. you dont have to post this if u cant i just wanted to voice my thoughts.

  36. I agree with earlier comments that this is a disgrace and a public outrage! What’s going on in this country this is a terrible injustice what’s gonna happen next?

  37. i’m not defending the despicable actions of these pigs…i LOVE corgis – my aunt and grandmother both had two of them when i was a kid, and i’m looking to adopt one myself…

    despite a corgi’s short stature, they were bred to herd cattle and are a working class dog…they can be territorial and protective of their family and could be perceived as aggressive…i’ve had an australian cattle dog (aka blue heeler) which are quite similar to corgis in that they are working herding dogs and she was intimidating to strangers and quite vocal if anyone unfamiliar came too near her territory…again NOT defending the cops – they used excessive force and i don’t think the chief’s account of events is at all supported by the video…all the cops involved should be summarily relieved of duty immediately and should NEVER work in any kind of law enforcement EVER (not even as mall cops)

  38. @ Russ’ response to my previous commment:

    this was a bad article to post my particular comment on because it is a legitimate reason to be angry.

    this movement needs support from those that do not use marijuana and those do not already feel strongly about this issue, and more flies are caught with honey rather than vinegar (or in many cases on this website, venom).

    again, this article provides a legitimate reason to be angry, however we must take care not to discredit/dishonor our movement with retaliation or other inappropriate action.

  39. These cops are disgusting pigs.

    And the reason the reason why they couldn’t enforce that warrant during the day was why?

    No city or town needs a SWAT team besides NY and Washington.

    This act of police brutality is disgusting and un-American.


  41. Yeah, If you think this is bad just keep your eye on what Joe Lieberman is proposing. He wants a law to be enacted that will let the government legally be able to take away someone’s citizenship. So cops busting into your place, shooting your dog, terrorizing your children isn’t half as bad as a law enacted to strip someone of their citizenship. Yeah. You think this guy and his family got it bad. Imagine the cop’s response to someone’s house who isn’t a legal citizen anymore.

  42. Just plain awfull….WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND YOU FUCKING PIGS!!!!YOU SHALL ROT IN HELL Columbia, Missouri SWAT Team….what gives you the right to determin whats right from wrong. you had a decision and you took an innocent life, MURDER is what that is. All you assholes keep saying well the drug war this the drug war that, crime, yadda yadda! Suck It!! The “drug (weed) war” Is over. So Columbia, Missouri SWAT team How about this insted of worring about a pot dealer or a weed smoker why dont you do a little survailence on suspected child molesters, murderers (yourself),Rapist, Human trafficing, There are many many horrable crimes being commited and smoking cannabis is not one of them but you dont even consider them if you get just an inclination that there is pot somewhere. Oh that little boy will be ok with his convicted then released father petafile we gotta go make a big drug bust….Fucking assholes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  43. Whats going on in a police brain ?
    Very little,all the circuits are overloaded and soaked wet with testosterone,the reptilian brain takes over and take a gun and put it in his hand and you have the recipe for disaster.
    Police are sickos in need of metabolic curing.

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