Man suing city after his dog allegedly shot by police

Local News

ROCHESTER, NY (WROC-TV) A recently released police body cam video allegedly shows a Rochester Police Officer gunning down a dog. This happened in October of 2018, after that officer entered a back yard in the northeast end of the city.

Elliot Shields of Roth & Roth is representing Charles Dempsey, who is suing the City of Rochester for damages. He says the shooting of Tesla, Dempsey’s black Labrador is a tragedy, and never should have happened.  

“What the video shows is that the police had no reason to enter my client’s back yard,” says Shields.

Shields says this video appears to show an officer working a case, entering Dempsey’s yard without permission. That’s when Dempsey opens his back door, unaware of the officer to let out Tesela. The dog then begins to bark and approach the officer. He then takes out his hand gun, shooting Tesla twice. She later died.

Shields adds Dempsey’s family will have this memory the rest of their lives. He says the RPD should have gone to Dempsey’s front door, rather than climbing over his back yard fence. 

“Because they didn’t do that, now his dog is dead. His dog Tesla was a member of this family and (he) and his daughter are suffering from what happened,” says Shields.

Shields says it was a struggle to get this video released from the RPD, taking them to court, eventually getting nine total body camera videos from all responding RPD officers on-scene. 

“When (police) implement body-worn camera systems, it does a really good job of recording what happens in these interactions. But it doesn’t necessarily lead to changes in officer behavior,” he adds.

He’s hoping this lawsuit will lead to reforms within the RPD and justice for Dempsey. 

News 8 did speak with Dempsey outside of his home. He says he’s still reeling from the incident a year on. Like Shields, he says this never should have happened and he believes the police officer was not trained properly.

News 8 did reach out to the RPD and the City for comment and have not heard back yet.

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