Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Family: Members Unfairly Charged after Shooting of Dog, Police Officer

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Family: Members Unfairly Charged after Shooting of Dog, Police Officer

Article excerpt

Everyone agrees that a police officer and a dog were shot March 10 in Hazelwood.

But the circumstances that led to the shootings on Tipton Street are in dispute.

Bret Grote, the attorney for three members of the family that owns the dog, said Wednesday that they were wrongly charged after a Pittsburgh police officer aiming at their dog accidentally shot his own partner. He argued that the case should be withdrawn.

A preliminary hearing scheduled for Marlon Jackson, his mother, Saundra Cole McKamey, and his cousin, Devin Paige, was postponed Wednesday afternoon when the officer, Scott Brown, who was injured in the incident, did not appear for court.

"He has not been cleared to come back to work," said Officer Robert Berberich. "You're not allowed to go to court if you're not cleared."

Magisterial District Judge James Hanley granted a postponement until Aug. 10.

The police allege that the dog, a pit bull terrier named King, appeared to be aggressive, and they feared it was attacking Officer Brown.

The family members said that the dog is harmless, that the officers acted inappropriately and then filed criminal charges against them to cover up their own misconduct.

Ms. McKamey is charged with hindering apprehension, and Mr. Paige is charged with tampering with evidence and possession of marijuana. Mr. Jackson faces the most serious charges, including aggravated assault for allegedly siccing the dog on the officer, as well as recklessly endangering another person, obstruction and cruelty to animals.

"The only danger created in this situation was when Officer [Christopher] Goetz fired his gun," said Mr. Grote, who represents the family.

According to the criminal complaint, Officers Berberich, Brown and Goetz were on patrol in Hazelwood that day, when Officer Goetz saw Mr. Paige counting money and then throw a baggie of marijuana. He ordered Mr. Paige to stop, and Officer Berberich found the marijuana, while Officer Goetz recovered $100 in cash and two cellphones. At the same time, the complaint said, Officer Berberich noticed Mr. Jackson on the front porch of the house at 216 Tipton standing with both hands in his pockets. …

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