|Photo: Rosalyn Stokes|
Last week we wrote about the Maine man who, while traveling through Sulphur, Louisiana lost his dog Arzy to a senseless officer shooting. While officer Brian Thierbach was arresting Brandon Carpenter and a friend for trespassing in the Southwest Daily News parking lot, he shot Arzy (who was tied to a three-foot leash) and fought back a smile.
He lied and said the dog attacked him but eyewitness Eric Midkiff, the circulation manager at the Southwest Daily News, was able to counter that claim and said it appeared the officer was playing with the dog just before shooting it to death. He said the dog was acting friendly and he had seen the dog’s tail wagging. Brandon opted to remain in Sulphur, even looking to temporarily rent and work there until full justice was achieved.
Supporters are raising funds to fight the injustice and, like many hundreds of others traumatized this way, Brandon has set up a justice page for Arzy. A petition to dismiss Brian Thierbach has amassed over 7,000 signatures.
Other support for Carpenter has been described by him as “overwhelming.” Rallies, t-shirts, car decals, pictures of pets supporting Arzy on Facebook, small business support, free services and an overall outpouring of help are ongoing.
Thierbach had been placed on paid administrative leave, pending a joint investigation by Sulphur Police and Calcasieu Parish Sheriff’s Office that was to be submitted to the District Attorney’s office.
Before it was final, Thierbach handed in his resignation.
Sulphur Police Chief Lewis Coats had said:
I am a dog lover and I am deeply saddened by this incident.
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I realize there is nothing I can say that would take away the hurt this incident has caused Mr. Brandon Carpenter. The actions of Officer Thierbach did not represent what I expect from the officers of the Sulphur Police Department. Those of us who serve as law enforcement officers do so with the responsibility of serving and protecting the community as professionals.
The resignation of Officer Thierbach was accepted so that the officers and community can heal and move forward.
Brandon Carpenter plans to keep going with his efforts. For him, it’s not about thinking badly of cops – he doesn’t – it’s about raising awareness. He called the resignation,”a couple steps in the right direction.”
At this point, it’s all I could have hoped for. I do think he should be brought to full justice. Now I’m going through some inner turmoil. Can’t I just forgive and forget? I’ve certainly made some mistakes in my life. But nobody’s above the law. I had to pay for my mistakes. That’s why I learned not to do them again.
And this awareness does appear necessary; as one Reddit user points out, officer-dog shootings seem to be an area-wide issue. Resident Laura Martin points out that this is the third unnecessary officer-dog shooting this year in Sulphur. Furthermore, Thierbach was reprimanded for other incidents.
There is also a small Facebook support page for Thierbach. The supporters seem to be going through mental acrobatics that imply justification for the incident – or justification for him to have kept his job. I believe that when it comes to the incident, they are asking questions that wouldn’t help the bigger issue that’s rolling over the estimated thousands of people each year who lose their companions (even parakeets) this way. According to a friend of the officer, “[Thierbach] wished things turned out differently.” But how so? is what I wonder about that vague statement.
The growing problem of LEOs unnecessarily killing pet dogs and the people who support it is deeply entrenched. One resignation doesn’t begin to reshape it.
Facebook: Justice 4 Arzy
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