Shooting of 'Arfee' ruled unjustified - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Shooting of 'Arfee' ruled unjustified

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COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho - Friday morning the Coeur d'Alene Police held a press conference to share the results of the internal and external investigation in the July 9th officer-involved shooting of a dog at Java on Sherman Avenue in Coeur d'Alene, and announced the shooting was ruled unjustified.

On July 9th, Police were called to the corner of Sherman and North 8th street for a suspicious van. The van was believed to be linked to a man known to lure children.

An officer approached the van, gun in hand, and was startled when he said a dog lunged at him. The officer shot and killed a dog originally identified as a pit bull, but the dog was later identified as a black lab mix named "Arfee."

The dog's owner, Craig Jones, was eating at a restaurant just down the street when it all happened and said on his Facebook page the next morning, "I'd like to thank my Facebook family for your support and love. Today is definitely harder than yesterday."

Coeur d'Alene recently swore in a new Police Chief, Lee White on September 2nd. Because of this officer-involved shooting with Arfee, White's swearing in came at a time when the gap between police and the public is wide. The department has been under heavy criticism since the shooting death of the 2-year-old black lab. White did not want this incident sitting over the department's head for long so he called for this press conference to talk abut the investigation in its entirety.

During that press conference on Friday, White said the shooting of Arfee has been ruled as "unjustified" and called Officer Dave Kelley's actions that day "questionable."

"After a thorough review of this case, I have found four findings to share with you, first, three separate reviews have determined the use of force was not reasonable in this incident," Chief White said during the press conference. 

Officer Kelley has been with Coeur d'Alene Police for 7 years, but has more than 15 years experience in law enforcement. Other than that, little information about Kelley is being released until a threat assessment is done, based on the death threats the department received. Officer Kelley said he wasn't sure if the dog could get out of the window, which was rolled down a few inches,  and was scared and in immediate defense fired one round, killing the dog.


Chief White also said, "There were other administrative missteps such as the failure to activate the on-body camera."


Reports show Kelley did not announce himself when he got out of the car and at the point the dog was killed, the officer was not in danger. This shooting means a number of things for the department, first, reassessing the policy on animals.


"The department policies regarding the use of force against animals will be modified, that policy does not talk about use of force for an aggressive animal or the investigative steps to be taken afterwards or the alternative to use of force for an aggressive animal," Chief White said.


The second point Chief White made was the need to bridge a "widening gap" between the department and the community. One way they hope to do that is bring the community in on certain investigation boards.


"It's my plan to ultimately have a community advisory component on our use of force boards in the coming months. the main purpose of this component of the board is to ensure accountability, to get a citizens perspective on police use of force incidents and improve our relationship with the community," Chief White said.

Now the department will decide what disciplinary action will be taken against Officer Kelley. Even once disciplinary action has been handled. the owner of the dog, Craig Jones, has sought legal action against the City of Coeur d'Alene. 


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