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Video surfaces of SWAT team shooting pet dog during raid

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Mike Riggs
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      Mike Riggs

      Mike Riggs is a staff writer at The Daily Caller. He has written and reported for Reason magazine and reason.com, GQ, the Awl, Decibel, Culture 11, the Philadelphia Bulletin, and the Washington City Paper, where he served as an arts and entertainment editor.

The video of a Columbia, Mo., SWAT team shooting and killing a dog during a drug raid is now available online, due in part to the efforts of the Columbia Daily Tribune.

The video shows members of the Columbia Police Department executing a narcotics raid on the home of Jonathan Whitworth. While the raid, which occurred in February, only turned up a misdemeanor amount of marijuana and a glass pipe, the Columbia PD was able to charge Whitworth with second-degree child endangerment because a child lives in the home. That same child, age 7, was present when the Columbia PD conducted its raid and witnessed the police shoot both family pets — a pitbull, which was killed, and a corgi, which was shot in the leg — after they had safely entered the home.

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“Did you shoot my fucking dog?” Whitworth asks in the video. ”Oh my God, what the fuck did you do that for?”

Daily Tribune reporter Brennan David submitted a public information request for the video immediately after the charges were filed in February and was denied because the video was being used in criminal proceedings. “I knew that SWAT video was available and that SWAT teams use video. The deputy chief told me that he had watched it a few times,” David said.

He requested the video again after Whitworth pleaded down to possession of paraphernalia and paid the possession fine earlier this month. David says his request was granted within 72 hours and that it does not show the corgi being shot.

Columbia PD spokeswoman Jessie Haden told David on Monday that an ongoing investigation of the use of firearms inside an occupied home is “expected to be completed within the next two weeks,” and that “Internal Affairs is conducting the review because the incident involved multiple shots and was inside an occupied residence. This allows Internal Affairs sergeants to review the incident independent from the SWAT command.”

According to the Tribune’s first report in February, “SWAT members encountered a pit bull upon entry, held back and then fatally shot the dog, which officers said was acting in an uncontrollably aggressive manner.”