An internal investigation is underway after a Faulkner County Sheriff’s Office investigator reportedly shot and killed a Greenbrier family’s dog earlier this week.
Video footage of the incident began circulating social media Monday afternoon.
The video was captured by Chris Coiner, who is the dog’s owner.
The Greenbrier man said the incident occurred around 4 p.m. Monday as his daughter was headed home from school.
The 3-year-old Terrier mix started barking as investigator Darrell Freeman drove up to his residence in an unmarked unit, Coiner said.
“Clide [the family dog] was doing exactly what he was supposed to do – bark at a stranger in the yard,” Coiner told the Log Cabin Democrat. “I have [a] FedEx driver that comes here often that will tell you he barks! That’s all. Never bitten anyone.”
The Greenbrier man said he did not believe the investigator had any reason to be on his property on the day in question.
Sheriff Tim Ryals and Chief Deputy Matt Rice confirmed Thursday that an internal investigation was underway following the incident.
The investigator went to the Autumn Hills Road residence while attempting to conduct a compliance check on a local sex offender, the sheriff said. A nearby family told the investigator they believed the man he was looking for lived at the residence in question, located in the 70 block of Autumn Hills Road.
While at the property, Ryals said the investigator reported being threatened by the dog “a couple of times.”
At one point, the “threat was relieved.” However the dog “reengaged” just “moments later,” Freeman reportedly wrote in his report following the incident.
The Coiner family said the investigator “knew he was at the wrong address because he had been to the correct address” before heading to their home.
Losing the family dog has affected the entire family, Coiner said, adding that the dog was a part of the family.
Since the shooting, Coiner said his 3-year-old son “cries and is looking for Clide.”
Sheriff Ryals said an investigator who is not affiliated with the criminal investigation division has been assigned to interview everyone involved and all witnesses to the Monday shooting to keep the investigation fair and impartial. As of press time Thursday, not everyone involved had been interviewed about the incident.
The sheriff’s office recently updated its use of force policy, which includes how a deputy should respond if an animal is acting aggressively. Rice said the policy was updated in September.
According to the department’s use of force policy, a deputy can only use deadly force to arrest someone they believe has a felony and the offender used deadly force in the commission of the felonious act, would use deadly force if not immediately detained and if there was not other way to detain the offender. Deputies can use deadly force to defend themselves or another individual if they believe a there is an imminent threat that an offender will use deadly force against them.
The deadly force police also states:
Deadly force cannot be used against someone accused of a misdemeanor offense who is fleeing.
Deputies cannot shoot at moving vehicles or into structures. (Unless it is necessary to prevent imminent death or serious physical injury, deputies cannot shoot at a moving vehicle. Deputies cannot voluntarily place themselves in front of a moving vehicle and are advised to move out of the vehicle’s path if someone is driving toward them, and they cannot shoot inside a building “unless the deputy or someone else is drawing fire and the suspect can be identified and is clearly visible.”)
Warning shots are absolutely prohibited.
A deputy must identify who they are and warn others before using any type of force that could cause and injury.
Deputies are permitted to discharge their duty weapon during range training, during an approved competitive sporting event and to “destroy an animal that represents a threat to public safety including the deputy or as a humanitarian measure where the animal is seriously injured.”
A deputy cannot draw his weapon “unless circumstances create reasonable cause to believe that it may be necessary to use the weapon in conformance to this policy.”
Firearms must not be discharged if an innocent person could be injured.
Deputies must not deliberately collide their vehicle into another vehicle to force the other vehicle off the roadway.
A deputy must also consider other motorists’ safety when participating in a high-speed chase.
Sheriff Ryals said Monday’s shooting that left the Coiner family’s dog dead is unfortunate and that his office is reviewing all evidence related to the incident.