Harteau: Mandatory trainings for police-dog interactions following weekend incident

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Courtesy of Jennifer LeMay

Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau responded Monday to an incident over the weekend in which one of her officers shot and wounded two service dogs at a residence on the north side.

The whole encounter was captured on video by surveillance cameras at the house in question after the officer responded to a security alarm that had been tripped by accident, according to the home's owner.

Chief Harteau said the department is implementing mandatory training sessions for police-dog encounters in the future, and says the department hopes to help the family with their veterinary bills going forward.

"I’ve watched the video, and as someone whose family has included dogs most of my life, I can say that it was difficult to watch," Harteau said in the statement. "This was an outcome that no one wanted. I’ve asked for an Internal Affairs use of force review."

A report filed by the Minneapolis Police Department says the dogs "charged" at the officer after he entered through an open rear door at the residence, and that police called animal control and the owner after leaving the property to explain that the dogs had been shot. 

To LeMay and longtime friend Tasha Bacon, however, the video shows something else entirely.

"He wasn't charging anybody," Bacon said. "He came out like he always does--like, 'Hey, what's going on?'"

Attorneys with knowledge of the incident tell Fox 9 that ultimately, the officer's body camera footage will determine whether he was justified in firing his weapon.

Both Staffordshire bull terriers, Rocco and Ciroc, are service dogs for Jennifer LeMay's children--Ciroc helps maintain emotional regulation and alleviate anxiety while Rocco is trained to identify seizures.

The incident is still under investigation.