*Over the weekend it was revealed that the city of Ferguson “secretly” awarded Michael Brown’s family a “wrongful death claim” of $1.5 million.
After the officer-involved shooting of the unarmed black teen back in 2014, President Obama told Americans that Brown’s death “awakened our nation once again to the reality that [black people] have long understood” and that the shooting demonstrated why “too many young men of color feel targeted by law enforcement.”
As Huff Post reports, the family’s settlement “was on par with one particular shooting in Maryland ― except, in this case, the family was white and the victim was their pet dog.”
In May, a jury awarded $1.26 million to a family whose beloved pet was shot and killed by Anne Arundel County police Officer Rodney Price.
Price claimed he was attacked by the Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Vern in the homeowner’s front yard while he was investigating a burglary in the neighborhood.
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Price reportedly shot the innocent pooch twice but admitted in court that the dog did not attack or injure him before he pulled out his weapon.
According to a press release sent to HuffPost, “the jury found that the shooting violated the owner’s constitutional rights and was committed with gross negligence.”
Price was placed on administrative leave and the three-day trial resulted in “the largest verdict in U.S. history for a police dog shooting,” said the Hansel Law Firm that represented the family.
“The verdict sends a strong message to the police about … community expectations,” the family’s attorney, Cary J. Hansel, wrote in the release. “The duty to serve and protect extends to our animal family members as well. Shooting Vern was senseless, unnecessary and unconstitutional.”
As you know, a grand jury declined to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson for the death of Michael Brown.
Meanwhile, the Anne Arundel County police chief visited the dog’s family to extend his condolences.
#NeverForget, America’s justice system values the life of an animal over that of a black man.