The woman whose dogs were shot and wounded by police in their north Minneapolis backyard — an encounter captured on residential surveillance video — wants the officer prosecuted for filing a false report that said the animals charged at him.
Attorney Michael Padden, in a statement issued Tuesday on behalf of Jennifer LeMay and her family, alleged that officer Michael Mays should be disciplined, “up to and including termination,” for what he alleged in the report filed Saturday night a few hours after shooting the dogs.
Padden said it’s against the law for a peace officer to file a false report, prompting him to call on Police Chief Janeé Harteau to ensure criminal prosecution of the officer.
A Police Department spokeswoman declined to respond to the attorney’s demands.
In a statement issued Monday, Harteau said she viewed the video and did not pass judgment on the officer’s actions. She said an internal investigation will take place, adding that her department will be implementing mandatory training on how officers can best handle encounters with dogs.
Mays and another officer were responding to a burglary call to the home in the 3800 block of Queen Avenue N. after one of LeMay’s daughters accidentally set off a security alarm.
Video goes viral
The video, watched hundreds of thousands of times on Facebook, shows Mays inside the fenced backyard. He walks forward out of view for a few seconds and then retreats with his gun drawn. One of the dogs, Ciroc, is seen trotting toward Mays, stopping briefly and then walking toward him, his tail wagging. That’s when Mays shoots the dog.
The animal goes down for a moment and runs away. Mays then shoots Rocko as that dog bounds toward him.
Padden’s statement contends that the video contradicts what Mays wrote in his report: that the “two large size pit bulls charged at” him.
The attorney added that if it hadn’t been for the family’s video “the false report would likely have gone undiscovered.”
Mays was wearing a body camera. Police have yet to release video from that device.
Along with the intense public interest measured in Facebook views of the video, a GoFundMe account initiated to pay for the dogs’ veterinary bills has raised about $29,000, with more than 1,000 donations. The campaign’s goal was $15,000.
Padden scoffed at Harteau’s statement Monday that said the department would help with the medical bills for the dogs, both purebred Staffordshire terriers, a breed accepted as a type of pit bull.
“That is a day late and a dollar short,” the attorney said. “At the time the money was needed ... with the vet clinic in question to save the dogs, before the dogs would be touched by a veterinarian, almost $4,000 was needed [up front] by the clinic. MPD was nowhere to be found at that point, and Jennifer was specifically told that MPD would pay ‘nothing.’ ”