Surveillance footage captured by a Ring doorbell camera in Indiana shows a police officer repeatedly kicking a dog while outside of a resident’s home.
The video, uploaded on Tuesday by homeowner Haley Richey, begins with the dog barking as two officers approach the residence.
“Yesterday evening while my family and I were at work, someone broke into my home,” Richey wrote on Twitter. “My dogs ran the intruder off. This was the response shortly after a neighbor called. My home needed help and all it received was hurt.”
The dog can be heard yelping before fleeing the home’s front porch after being assaulted by the officer.
The footage has since been shared nearly 5,000 times on Twitter alone, with users expressing shock and disgust at the officer’s actions.
In a follow-up post on Tuesday, Richey questioned how others in the community were being treated by the officer but did not make mention of the dog’s condition.
“I shared for awareness. I have no hate, but all pain for what occurred. I can’t wrap my head around how easy it was to approach my dogs the way they were,” Richey wrote. “I have no hate, but pain for the individual. How easy was it to approach my pets that only had the option to yelp and run to defend themselves? How are others, not just pets being treated in our community?”
While Richey did not mention the name of the officer involved, the officer was quickly identified as belonging to the Terre Haute Police Department.
Responding to the uproar on Facebook, the Terre Haute Police Department released a lengthy statement on Wednesday announcing it had investigated the matter.
“Many of us have our own animals and would no more want to see them hurt than our own children,” the department wrote. “That being said, we have begun an investigation into this matter after providing all private video, body camera video, and reports to the prosecutor’s office for an independent review consistent with policy.”
The department also denied that the officers had been responding to a burglary call. The statement claimed that police were dispatched due to complaints regarding a white pit bull that had been “charging at everyone that goes by” and that had previously “bitten a child and a mailman.”
“A check revealed that on May 2, 2020, at approximately 7:50 P.M., officers were sent to the same address for a white pit bull that had bitten an 11 year old girl,” the department said. “At that time, officers reported that an adult female resident had indicated that her daughter had left the gate open and the dog had gotten out and went after the juvenile victim. The adult female was cited for Failure to Restrain a Dog Resulting in Bite or Attack.”
The Daily Dot reached out Richey to inquire about the department’s statement but did not receive a reply by press time.
Bodycam footage from the responding officer was also released, which showed two dogs “running at the officer.”
“Both dogs appear aggressive and continue to lunge at the sergeant from separate sides,” the statement continues. “At 2 minutes 11 seconds, the officer attempts to speak to a neighbor to the east when the brown dog again lunges at the officer repeatedly.”
Whether the video exonerates the officer seems debatable. In the footage, he’s shown chasing the dog and saying “I’ll kick your ass, stupid fucking dog,” and before what appears to be the scene in the Ring video, “I’ll kick the shit out of you.”
Talking to a resident in the video, he says, “They about got shot.”
The department claims that after the officer left the scene, the homeowner called them back and claimed that they believed their dogs had gotten out of the home due to a burglar.
“After the original call completed, at approximately 10:49 P.M., the male resident contacted police again and reported that after speaking with his family, he believes someone may have gotten into their residence and that is how the dogs escaped,” the department said. “Nothing was reported missing at that time and no video was available depicting an intruder. This claim remains under investigation, but there are currently no witnesses or video indicating an intruder was present or that the dogs scared one off.”
Footage from the incident was provided to the Vigo County Prosecutor’s Office to carry out an independent investigation. The prosecutor’s office, according to the department, determined that “no criminal activity was found to have occurred on the part of the officer.”
“The prosecutor’s office also independently contacted the male resident and offered to meet with him or any member of his family to allow them to view the full body camera footage,” the department added. “The prosecutor’s office indicated that this offer was declined.”
Although the prosecutor’s office viewed the incident as non-criminal, the department says it “will still be objectively evaluating the conduct to see if it violates any departmental policies or directives.”
“During this process, the sergeant will be placed on administrative duty assignment,” the department wrote.