Geist Is About More Than a Dog
Perhaps you’ve heard about Geist, the dog that was shot and killed by Salt Lake City police officer Brett Olsen while the officer was allegedly searching for a missing child. The case has wrought concern because the officer killed the dog on private property that was fenced and for which the officer did not have a warrant. The owner of the property had done nothing wrong and was not a subject of investigation. The incident raises some interesting questions such as whether the officer had the right to be on the property under the exigent circumstances doctrine , which is the legal doctrine the city has relied on to exonerate the officer of any wrong doing.
Officer Olsen was found to have done nothing wrong according to the Salt Lake Police Department’s internal investigation (no surprise there) but thousands of people have latched on to Geist as their cause against what many see to be the increasing violence from police across the country. The Facebook page already has nearly 80,000 likes. There have been demonstrations at the state capitol building and people remain active through social media outlets and other online sources.
The story gets even more interesting because the dog’s owner, Sean Kendall, rejected a what he termed a “generous” offer from Salt Lake City to settle any potential civil disputes that could arise out of the situation. Kendall wants an apology and a policy change, two things which an ever increasing militarized police force is unlikely to give. After all, police departments thrive on being legally permitted to enact violent acts on others.
Salcido Law Firm will attempt to access the legal rationale behind the city’s finding that the officer did no wrong in this case and will break it down and show why it’s nonsense (which shouldn’t be hard to do). Some people may rationalize that we’re talking about a dog, not a human, but the issue is much bigger than a dog. It’s about holding the police accountable for acting immorally.