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Posted: 1/4/2003 11:12:32 AM EST
[url]http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=30324[/url] ARMED AND DANGEROUS Traffic stop traumatizes family Couple handcuffed, dog shot to death over lost wallet Posted: January 4, 2003 1:00 a.m. Eastern © 2003 WorldNetDaily.com Losing your wallet in Cookeville, Tenn., can get you handcuffed on the side of the highway and your dog shot to death by police – at least, that was the experience of a North Carolina family returning from a vacation in Nashville. James Smoak apparently left his wallet on the roof of the family station wagon New Year's Day while getting gas prior to pulling onto Interstate 40, reports the Cookeville Herald-Citizen. He discovered it was missing after three police cars swarmed his vehicle in what appeared to be a traffic stop. But this was no ordinary traffic stop. According to Smoak, a Tennessee Highway Patrol officer broadcast orders over a bullhorn for him to toss the keys out of the car window, get out with his hands up and walk backwards to the rear of the car. Smoak obeyed and was subsequently ordered onto his knees and handcuffed at gunpoint. Officers similarly handcuffed his wife, Pamela, and their 17-year-old son with their guns drawn. As the troopers were putting the family members inside the patrol car, one of the Smoak family bulldogs came out of the car and headed toward one of the Cookeville officers who were assisting the THP troopers. "That officer had a flashlight on his shotgun, and the dog was going toward that light, and the officer shot him, just blew his head off," Pamela Smoak told the Herald-Citizen. "We had begged them to shut the car doors so our dogs wouldn't get out, [but] they didn't do that." Cookeville Police Officer Eric Hall later defended his actions to the Herald-Citizen. "A dog, I believe to be a pit-bull, jumped from the suspect vehicle, singled me out from the other officers, and charged toward me growling in an aggressive manner, Hall described. "I yelled at the dog to 'get back' but it attempted to circle me to attack, so I felt that I had no other option but to protect myself. I fired once at the dog, instantly putting him down," he continued. Following the slaying of the dog, it was some time before the family learned why they had been stopped. At one point, a state trooper told them they "matched the description" in a robbery that had occurred in Davidson County. It was a while longer before someone in authority figured out that the officers had stopped and were holding the very family that someone in Davidson County had assumed had been robbed. "Finally, they asked me my name and I told them my name, date of birth and other information, and they talked by radio to someone in Davidson County and finally realized that a mistake had been made," James Smoak said. The 38-year-old said the officers then told them they were released and apologized. "A lady in Davidson County had seen that wallet fly off our car and had seen money coming out of it and going all over the road, and somehow that became a felony and they made a felony stop, but no robbery or felony had happened," Pamela Smoak said. "Here we are just a family on vacation, and we had to suffer this," James Smoak added. Beth Womack, a THP spokesperson in Nashville, told the Herald-Citizen an internal affairs investigation is underway and that every effort will be made to "find out exactly what happened and why." "As I understand it," she said, "a report was made in Davidson County to our officers that this car had been seen leaving at a high rate of speed and that a significant amount of money had come out of the car and someone became suspicious," she said. An internal investigation is also underway at the Cookeville Police Department. On Friday, Chief Bob Terry issued a statement stressing the department was called in as back-up by the Tennessee Highway Patrol and the officers' role was "secondary to what the THP termed as a 'felony' stop, a possible car-jacking." "Unfortunately, during the THP's process of gaining control of the situation, a very rare thing occurred," Terry's statement continued. "The Smoaks had been traveling with family dogs, and one of them got loose. ... it clearly approached one of our officers in a threatening manner. Our officer first tried to call the dog down, but after it kept approaching aggressively and started to circle him, the officer took the only action he could to protect himself and gain control of the situation."
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:15:30 AM EST
This is the fourth thread on this topic...
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:20:38 AM EST
[url]http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/816513/posts?page=2[/url] The ordeal went on for a time after that, the family terrified and in grief over the dog. Finally, after a time, someone in authority figured out that the officers here had stopped and were holding the very family that someone in Davidson County had assumed had been robbed, though how that assumption grew to the authorization for a felony stop, James Smoak cannot understand, he said today. "Finally, they asked me my name and I told them my name, date of birth, and other information, and they talked by radio to someone in Davidson County and finally realized that a mistake had been made," he said. "A lady in Davidson County had seen that wallet fly off our car and had seen money coming out of it and going all over the road, and somehow that became a felony and they made a felony stop, but no robbery or felony had happened," Pamela Smoak said. "Apparently, they had listened to some citizen with a cell phone and let her play detective down there," said James Smoak. "Here we are just a family on vacation, and we had to suffer this." > > When the officers did discover the mistake, "they said, 'Okay, we're releasing you and we're sorry,'" Smoak said. [b]As soon as Brandon was released from the handcuffs, he rushed over to the dead dog and began to cry, Smoak said. And that's when one of the most infuriating parts of the ordeal happened, according to James Smoak. [blue]"I saw one of the THP officers walk over to the city officer who had shot the dog and grin," he said.[/blue] He reported that to the supervising officer, THP Lt. Jerry Andrews, and Andrews "was very nice, very professional," Smoak said. [blue]"He told me the officer was not laughing, but I know he was," said Smoak.[/blue] [b]-hmmm I Think He Lied[/b]
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:26:03 AM EST
I hope that the family sues the pants off of those Barney Fifes and wins. This is the United States of America, not Nazi Germany. BS like this has got to stop. [pissed] BTW, just to head off any snide remarks, my Dad is a retired Arkansas State Trooper and several of my closest friends are police officers. I am not anti-law enforcement, just anti-stormtrooper.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:27:54 AM EST
The first one of these got shit canned. Then the second was headed downhill. Was there a third?
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:35:30 AM EST
Be careful not to speak ill of these fine officers.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:35:36 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:39:50 AM EST
How many times are we going to post this?
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:42:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By ChrisLe: How many times are we going to post this?
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Till we get one that is clean enough to keep up I guess. To repeat my last post from last night, I feel sorry for the taxpayers of Cookville, Tenn. The Smoaks attorney is going to rip the department a new one for sure-but its the TAXPAYER that allways pays for it.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:47:03 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:52:46 AM EST
Originally Posted By TomJefferson: I really must be getting old???? I thought I replied to this already??????????????
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You did. The question now begs; Did you reply to it the first, second, or third time it was posted (this being the fourth?[rolleyes]
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:55:25 AM EST
IBTL
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:55:31 AM EST
Please......have'nt these gallant officers been traumatized enough.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 11:58:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By TomJefferson: I really must be getting old???? I thought I replied to this already??????????????
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they had to erase it. Started to get ugly, people threatening to kill leos and such.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 12:22:20 PM EST
I have something to say about this thread, and if people are going to flame me for it, so be it. Have you ever heard the expression "Don't believe anything you read, and only half the things you see"? There is a reason that somebody came up with that expression. If a story can be twisted to make it more newsworthy, it will be twisted. I have seen it happen many times FIRST hand. If only one side of a story has been heard, are you simple minded or weak minded enough to believe it, simply because some journalist says it's true? What are this journalist's political leanings? Do you think it's likely at all that he/she might be looking to create a story that will make his/her name more recognizable? What percentage of modern day print/television journalists have leanings that could be considered pro law enforcement or pro government? Do you think cops have nothing better to do that pull innocent people over and harass them to make themselves feel like tough guys? Do you? Is it possible that whoever called 911 said things that might have created something out of nothing and the cops had no idea they were pulling over innocent people? All the cops had to go on was what their dispatcher told them. Sounds to me that they thought they were doing a felony car stop which just might cause one of them to get shot in the face. Did that ever occur to you guys? Did it ever occur to you that the "victims" might have refused to get out of the car, that the dog just might have charged the cop? I guess it's easier to believe that the evil, heavy handed cops used excessive force, right? They shot the dog in front of children because they're scumbags, right? None of them could possibly have children, right? WAKE UP. This story came out because this family is hiring a lawyer and is looking to get paid. Period. It's that simple. One more thing - anybody who is so slanted to want to believe this nonsense - anyone so pre-disposed towards paranoia/ hate/distrust for law enforcement and authority should not own any firearm, never mind an AR-15. If you feel a need to flame me now, light 'em up. I said what needed to be said and I wouldn't change a word. OUT.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 12:31:18 PM EST
Originally Posted By 9divdoc: [blue]"I saw one of the THP officers walk over to the city officer who had shot the dog and grin," he said.[/blue]
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Dont read too much into that. Smiling, even laughter can be a perfectly normal strees adaptation response to violence. A doctor could explain it better than me. But I have laughed my ass off after surviving a bad car crash and even smiled because I was still alive after shooting someone. It's a normal reaction to the stress. Its the same reason you will see smiling and joking people at any funeral.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 12:31:26 PM EST
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 12:53:29 PM EST
Paddy, no flames here. However, even if we factor-out the emotional stuff from the article, the facts seem to be: 1.) An confrontational, felony-type stop was made on a vehicle based on very flimsy evidence. This is even after the LEO followed and observed the car for some time. 2.) After the stop, it appears that no LEOs accurately assessed the situation. In fact, they failed to ask any relevant questions of the car's occupants and therefore didn't really assess anything. (Things could have been de-escalated at this point.) 3.) Deliberately leaving the car doors open on a high speed road when there are pets or small children around and inside the car was just plain negligent. Again, the LEOs could have gathered intelligence first before going to their battle stations. I have a hard time believing that a LEO could follow a car for quite a distance and still not be able to judge the level of force required during the actual traffic stop.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:08:29 PM EST
Were you there? On what do you base your assessment that no questions were asked? On what do you base your assessment that the "victims" were not evasive, that they did not give the standard "Why are you harassing me...No I won't get out of the car..."? On what do you base your assessment that while the cops were struggling to remove a self important person from the driver's seat that the dog (described as a pit bull or other aggressive dog)didn't run out the other side of the car directly at another cop? Again, WERE YOU THERE, or are you too easily led by a cop hating media/family looking to get paid/lawyer looking to get paid?
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 1:14:14 PM EST
Originally Posted By Paddyballz: Were you there? On what do you base your assessment that no questions were asked? On what do you base your assessment that the "victims" were not evasive, that they did not give the standard "Why are you harassing me...No I won't get out of the car..."? On what do you base your assessment that while the cops were struggling to remove a self important person from the driver's seat that the dog (described as a pit bull or other aggressive dog)didn't run out the other side of the car directly at another cop? Again, WERE YOU THERE, or are you too easily led by a cop hating media/family looking to get paid/lawyer looking to get paid?
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AMEN Paddy !!! Finally someone stands up for these noble officers !!!! BTW, you were'nt there either bright boy.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 4:19:14 PM EST
"I have something to say about this thread, and if people are going to flame me for it, so be it. Have you ever heard the expression "Don't believe anything you read, and only half the things you see"? There is a reason that somebody came up with that expression. If a story can be twisted to make it more newsworthy, it will be twisted. I have seen it happen many times FIRST hand. If only one side of a story has been heard, are you simple minded or weak minded enough to believe it, simply because some journalist says it's true? What are this journalist's political leanings? Do you think it's likely at all that he/she might be looking to create a story that will make his/her name more recognizable? What percentage of modern day print/television journalists have leanings that could be considered pro law enforcement or pro government? Do you think cops have nothing better to do that pull innocent people over and harass them to make themselves feel like tough guys? Do you? Is it possible that whoever called 911 said things that might have created something out of nothing and the cops had no idea they were pulling over innocent people? All the cops had to go on was what their dispatcher told them. Sounds to me that they thought they were doing a felony car stop which just might cause one of them to get shot in the face. Did that ever occur to you guys? Did it ever occur to you that the "victims" might have refused to get out of the car, that the dog just might have charged the cop? I guess it's easier to believe that the evil, heavy handed cops used excessive force, right? They shot the dog in front of children because they're scumbags, right? None of them could possibly have children, right? WAKE UP. This story came out because this family is hiring a lawyer and is looking to get paid. Period. It's that simple. One more thing - anybody who is so slanted to want to believe this nonsense - anyone so pre-disposed towards paranoia/ hate/distrust for law enforcement and authority should not own any firearm, never mind an AR-15. If you feel a need to flame me now, light 'em up. I said what needed to be said and I wouldn't change a word. OUT. " You've posed interesting and foolish views in this post. It's obvious that the reason the damned door wasn't shut after the family asked the officers to do it was because to acquiece to a perps suggestion is to relinquish a little bit of control of the situation. This is verbotten in the LE community these days. There was a thread in BrothersoftheShield a few weeks/month ago how if anyone said anything instead of immediately obeying the LE's command that the responce was "take 'em down." Pure power trip bullshit. Don't get me wrong, the good ol' boys in the county LE agency here are mostly normal folks who treat ya with respect and don't freak out when they see armed citizens at traffic stops, but the academy trained boys around here have bben ingrained to not let an inch of control leave their situation. And I'm positive I'll get flamed for saying this, and I don't give a damn, but the academy training the city cops receive is probably more likely to get them shot than our "second-class LE" county deputies. Mind you, I may some day be a cop, but I doubt my attitude will change. If it does y'all will be the first to know. Llanero out.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 4:22:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/4/2003 4:35:32 PM EST by llanero]
Originally Posted By ArmdLbrl: This is the fourth thread on this topic...
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My active topics and search are temporarily beyond my grasp, so I hit the first thread I saw edited to add that I'm not into LE bashing but any kind of double standard in society pisses me off whether its affirmative action, the definition of racism, or the way judicial rules are applied. It seriously pisses me off.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 5:07:25 PM EST
Lawyers are going to eat the THP up.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 5:12:51 PM EST
I read the first article, and it said the dogs were bulldogs. The police kept calling them pitbulls. I didn't think a bulldog and a pitbull looked that much alike.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 5:39:30 PM EST
martinmayhem, you're right about bulldogs not looking like pitbulls. I used to have a bulldog and they are not aggresive at all. The most aggressive thing I have ever seen one do is knock me over and start licking my face. I've never even heard one growl. If it really was a bulldog then I have a really hard time believing that the cop felt threatened.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 5:47:58 PM EST
Right-O about the bulldog--we had one for a mascot at the fraternity house and all that ugly bastard did was lick people to death. "Appeared to be a pitbull" was the first salvo of the spindoctors' whitewash.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 6:31:49 PM EST
Hmmmm.... Definately sounds like there was a lot of confusion on the call. Somehow the car was called in for a felony car jacking and officers found the car then performed a felony trafic stop. (Possible carjacking = Possible Felony) at least in this area. /sarcasam Now Knowing that no felons who would steal a car would resort to kiddnapping they should have relized that since there was a family in there I guess they should have let it go. /sarcasam off so while performing felony stop wher eeveryone is ordered out of vehicle and placed into cuffs for officer safety since the perpetrator could have been anyone in the vehicle it makes sense from a safety stand point. The doors get left open in the vehicle to check if someone is hiding in the vehicle (procedure on my department) since bad people don't always come out when asked. The family dog comes out and makes a run at a officer. Officer in fear of injury (dog bite = Injury sometimes serious) shoots family dog. Officer is going to have to live with that everyday for the rest of his life but probably did not know if dog was going to lick him or try to bite him. How many people here have made comments about a neighbors dog running around and how if it ends up in there yard and makes a run toward them would think about shooting it. This sounds like a large clusterfuck with a big ten foot tall bright red capital C. My condolences go out to both the family and the officers for having to go through it.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 7:11:46 PM EST
if I was that 17-year old kid, I'd be dead right now for punching that officer in the face for killing my dog. I love my dog more than anything, even guns.
Link Posted: 1/4/2003 8:33:34 PM EST
In today's Nashville Newpaper Mr. Smoak was quoted as saying that he knew wehat would happen if the dog got out of the car (It would be aggressive). Tough situation for the LEO's as well as the Citizens involved. - It all could have been prevented by using a little common sense and judgement - both of these attributes seem to be lacking on the part of the TN LEO's. I respect and support our LEO's here in my home state of Tennessee, The THP are mostly hard core LEO, our locals have most of a working brain, and our Sherrif's Dept are very fair. Just my .02
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 2:45:12 AM EST
Arkansas_Rocketman said:
I am not anti-law enforcement, just anti-stormtrooper.
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Yea, me too. Here's my little story, if any one cares. Wife and are were coming home from work a couple months ago, through the center of the small town where we both grew up and went to school. At the stop light on main street, I noticed a LEO turning through the light, staring at me. Paid no attention, since I am not on the FBI's top ten list. About 1/4 mile later, after I turned through the the light, I noticed the cars coming at me were swerving off the road, I looked out the side mirror of my P.U., and LEO is on my tail with his lights on. I thinks to my self, shit, I didn't see him, so I pull off on the shoulder to let him pass. To my surprise, he stops in the middle of the road (yep, takes up the full lane) behind me. Now is when I realize its me he's after, and since I am only about 3/4 off the road, and the sholder is wide and flat, I ease off the road completely and stop. He throws open his door, and starts screaming at the top of his lungs, "SHUT OFF THE VEHICLE, SHUT OFF THE VEHICLE". Now, my face is three shades of red from embarassment, main street east of town is shut down cause of me, I am wondering who in traffic I am holding up that I know, as I have lived here my whole life, (40 yrs) Officer comes to the window, new young local village P.D. guy, I can tell he's mad about somthing, he says "do you know why I pulled you over?" No, why?? "Because I see that you didn't have your seat belt on" I did, but my truck has lap belts only, not sholder harness. First time in 20 years I have been pulled over. He looked at my license, didn't run it, hands it back and questions me about my license plate (amateur radio call sign plate, he's never seen one??) and sends me on my way. First time in 20 years I have been pulled over. Same LEO gave my brother-in-law a ticket at 5 pm on Christmas Eve for 35 in a 25. Everybody in town loves our Police Chief, I graduated with his Son, and we used to hunt together, but being a small town, I guess all we can afford to hire is rookies recently indoctrinated at the academy. I guess it all comes down to what level of policing you are comfortable with. Rancid Lance
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 6:32:17 AM EST
I hope these people sue the shit out of the city and the THP.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:42:11 AM EST
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 7:52:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By ChrisLe: How many times are we going to post this?
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Why does it bother you, I hope so, this stuff needs to be on the TV, magazines, everywhere, till it does not happen anymore.
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 8:04:47 AM EST
Originally Posted By heimei: if I was that 17-year old kid, I'd be dead right now for punching that officer in the face for killing my dog. I love my dog more than anything, even guns.
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Yep and you would be dead. prolly in a hellstorm of bullets. theyd prolly been firing @ you even after you were down. God forbid that you even approach the "officer" or try to hit him. then your deffinatly gonna die. Cops think generally about one thing and one thing only. Themselves. Youll generally get one of 2 different types of cops. 1. try to smack the guy and you go down in a hellstorm of bullets and the cop gets "praised" and awarded a medal for mkilling a defensless 17 yr old kid (wow awsome act of bravery there slick) Or.... 2. the cops immediatly arrests you for assualting a police officer and you spend time in jail/prison. funny how cops can assualt you all they want to and get off scot free but whenever you retaliate you get screwed. It dont matter if they kick down the wrong door and shoot and kill the wrong guy on the wrong street. they get off with a slap on the wrist. or if they shoot a defensless guy in a car with his girlfriend because they remotely "look" like robbery suspects. that actually happend. Did the officers get punished? NO God forbid we punish our nations "heroes" when they fuck up [;D] and dont give me that hero shit anyway. It was the cops in NY on 9/11 that were the heroes. Im sick of JBT's getting off free because they are our nation's "heroes" are there actually ANY good cops left out there with any goddamn common fuckin sense any more? or even a sense of moral responsability??? well???
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 8:37:56 AM EST
Hmmm, So those that scorn the ridiculing of the "poor" LEO(s) involved, basically think if you're travelling with a dog that naturally holds an aggressive disposition when it sees his master being handcuffed and detained, the poor dog and dog owner(s) is shit outta luck if the officers don't have the common sense to make sure the canine inside the vehicle is SIMPLY restrained??? Seems like a logical assumption to make eh? Did these particular LEO(s) somehow expect this dog to magically possess the capacity to instinctively KNOW that attacking LE is bad? I suppose the officer's didn't see the dog or know of it's presence, yeah a pit bull or bull dog is pretty easy to overlook in a station wagon when pulled over! NOT It's common sense whether it be a pit bull, bull dog, chihuahua, st. bernard... an EFFORT from the LEO's should have been made to make sure the dog stayed in the vehicle!!! If it would've been a moderately aggressive pit bull it wouldn't of even circled, but instead quickly attacked and possibly ripped the shotgun wielding LEO's throat out. What if the family didn't possess the qualities of the Brady Bunch? So what, the LEO's easily could have ordered the dog be kept inside the vehicle, close door after each visible passenger was ordered to exit. But no, it seemed the only way to approach the scene was to leave the doors open and the dog's life was expendable. Regarding the press and their capacity to stretch the truth, even flat out lie....... this article is pretty straightforward, no need to fabricate to beef things up... based on the facts alone it's a fat N juicy article for the public to chew on! The owner's of the dog deserve compensation for damages done, i'd bet on it happening too if even 50% of the newspaper article is true! To error is human, the LEO(s) SHOULDN'T be tried and hanged for making this mistake. LE work isn't easy, and mistakes are made. Some common sense/logical thinking clearly wasn't being used in this situation. Emotions expressed so far within this thread aren't far-fetched at all, and I don't understand any LEO that reads this thread getting his panties in a knot over it. If a civilian makes a relatively similar mistake, he gets convicted and scorned upon and EVEN punished. Question: What the hell makes LEO's exempt from facing this scorn too for making these mistakes? Answer: Nothing, so get a grip!
Link Posted: 1/6/2003 9:32:03 AM EST
Similar stop happened to me last month. GF was clocked speeding. We had our Chow mix in the car. She has a very aggressive personality, and will bark her head off at ANY stranger, ESPECIALLY one in a uniform. Military, Power Company, UPS, NCHP, or PD makes no difference. She was tortured as a puppy. My girlfriend informed the trooper we were traveling with our dog, and that she would bark like crazy if he approached the car. He told her to walk back to his vehicle with her L & R. We were on a lonely highway. We were the only two vehicles for miles during the entire stop. He didn't even call for back up. (Which frankly I think was kinda dumb on his part) My dog did not get shot. Nobody else got shot either. Now I realize that this was NOT a "Felony Stop" but he was alone, and it was the middle of nowhere. Even though he wasn't too nice to my girlfriend, the trooper did not allow the situation to get out of hand or anyone to get hurt. I feel for the Smoak family and their loss. Those TN LEO's were neglegent to say the least.
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