Officer kills mixed breed in defense of his dog; another officer gets death threat
The shooting of a dog at a South San Francisco park last month by an off-duty police officer has led to death threats against another officer, threats of a lawsuit against the city from the dog’s owner and criticism of the city’s handling of the incident.
On Sept. 25, an off-duty South San Francisco police officer, known in the neighborhood as "Officer Mike," shot and killed Ray Halteh’s dog. The slain dog, a boxer-terrier mix named Angel, allegedly had the officer’s dog, Buddy, in her jaws.
City officials launched an internal police investigation of the incident, but then turned the matter over to an independent investigator because of the shooting’s "unique" nature, given that an officer’s direct family and pet are involved, City Manager Barry Nagel said.
The full name of the officer involved in the shooting has not been released by the city.
The apparent delay, however, has prompted criticism both from Halteh, who has hired attorney Eric Safire and is weighing litigation, and from the family of an officer who appears to have been caught in the crossfire.
Sgt. Alan Normandy, a South San Francisco police officer who was uninvolved in the dog’s shooting, received a death threat related to the incident at his home last weekend, according to his family members.
Both Normandy’s family and Halteh’s supporters expressed anger at Wednesday’s City Council meeting with the way the city was handling the incident because an internal police report of the incident has not been released.
Normandy’s father, Dennis, a San Francisco Public Utilities Commission member, lambasted the City Council and specifically Councilmember Mike Addiego for "grandstanding" that he alleged has led to his son receiving a death threat.
"‘Unite the community’ coming from his mouth is a bucket of manure," Normandy said, of comments Addiego made at the council meeting. "If you want a community to be united, when an issue such as this comes out, you put the facts out as quickly as possible."
Addiego said he "cheered" the independent investigation because a third-party opinion should satisfy those "who are going to judge the officer."
"I’d say it was ill-advised for the father of an officer on our payroll to chastise a councilman," Addiego said.
Addiego said he’s spoken with members of the Zamora Park neighborhood and, while there’s a lot of emotion, "everybody just regrets that this happened. They just want to know that it won’t happen again."
Nagel said the independent investigation would continue through Oct. 20.
Safire recently lost a campaign for a seat on the San Francisco Superior Court to Lilian Sing and is notable for his prosecution during San Francisco’s Fajitagate trial.
Normandy has served as a ballistics consultant for the television show "Mythbusters."firstname.lastname@example.org