PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Philadelphia Police continue to investigate an incident involving two officers and a pet dog. Surveillance video shows a crowd trying to break up what they thought was a dog attacking a child. Later in the video, officers step in with weapons drawn.
Michelle Nieves has owned Chuckie and Chico for more than four years. Like any pit bull brothers, they often fought.
That was what was happening around 12 p.m. on Wednesday at their home on the 2900 block of North Leithgow Street in Philadelphia’s Fairhill neighborhood, she said, when two uniformed Philadelphia Police officers shot and killed Chuckie.
Nieves’ 7-year-old son, Jayden Nieves, was screaming during the fight. That’s when neighbors hopped the fence, thinking the boy was hurt.
Neighbors tried separating Chuckie and Chico using a rake, other tools and even a sink.
“We’ve had them since they were 5 and 8 days old,” Nieves said. “They locked snouts so we were trying to separate them. I’m screaming at them, ‘Don’t hit him, just pull him back, he won’t bite, just pull him back.'”
During the commotion, two uniformed officers assigned to the Narcotics Strike Force unit were on patrol in the area.
They heard yelling coming from the area of 4th and Indiana Streets when they were directed to Nieves’ backyard, which was enclosed by a chain-linked fence that stands approximately 6 feet tall.
“They approach the sound where they hear the noise coming from,” Philadelphia Police Capt. Sekou Kinebrew said. “And they’re summoned to location by concerned citizens.”
One officer fired at Chuckie as the dog ran between two of the men. Seconds later, the dog re-emerged and charged at the other officers. That’s when both officers fired their guns at Chuckie.
“We picked him up and rushed him to the vet on South Front Street,” Nieves said. “By the time they got there, they said he had nine bullet wounds in him.”
Chuckie died and Nieves believes the use of force simply was not necessary.
“We didn’t need any help,” Nieves said. “I didn’t call anyone to come help me. I didn’t call the officers to come help me. I didn’t ask them to enter my property and they had no reason to shoot my dog.”
“My dog was, in no way, attacking anyone,” Nieves added.
“We don’t want to harm any animals,” Kinebrew said, “but if there is a human that may be in danger, whether it’s a civilian or the officer, those are lives we have to protect as well.”
As is normal procedure, both officers are on paid administrative duty during the investigation.