Police Chief Andrew Spencer of Sparta, MO resigned this week after it was revealed that he brutally murdered a lost puppy whose owners had been desperately searching for him. Upon discovering the dog – Chase – right outside his owner’s home, Spencer reportedly herded it into a cage with a catcher pole, drove to the local gun range, mercilessly assassinated the puppy in its cage, and then dumped the body in the local “sludge field.”
Spencer has of course tried to justify his unjustifiable actions, as sadistic trigger-happy police officers so often do, whether their innocent victims are lost puppies or unarmed African-American youth. He initially claimed that he had intended to go to “the cheapest vet to destroy the dog at the cost of the city” but, due to receiving a “higher priority call” about a car accident, decided “it was best to destroy the dog” immediately. These claims of course reveal that Spencer totally missed the point, that if he had any empathy he wouldn’t have felt the need to kill the dog at all, and his cold description of “destroying” the innocent animal reveals a cruel apathy and lack of compassion that is a very dangerous trait in a policeman armed with deadly weapons and entrusted with the protection of a town.
In reports after the killing, Spencer also used the trademark revisionist lying that police forces have become so accustomed to to claim that the dog was “charging at people in the neighborhood,” although of course there is absolutely no evidence of this, Spencer neglected to mention it at the time, and Elizabeth Womack, Chase’s owner, described him as “nothing but friendly.” Indeed Womack and her family had been looking all over town for their beloved lost puppy, and all it would have taken from Spencer to determine this would be a modicum of patience, compassion, and self-control. Instead of acting with decency, however, he killed the innocent puppy in cold blood, and then repeatedly lied about it to Womack when she called to enquire, reportedly “giving her a run around” for five days before finally admitting that he had in fact killed her beloved puppy and agreeing to dig up and return the body. If not for Womack’s persistence in questioning the town police and the outcry that arose, Spencer would doubtlessly still be in his post today.
When so many of America’s police are so cruel, violent, and uncaring, with a trigger-happy shoot-to-kill attitude and an entrenched culture of lying about any malfeasance, is it any wonder that many in America today are afraid of the police? Spencer’s resignation does indeed mark a small victory for decency against police violence, and one can only hope that someday America will grant its downtrodden African-American citizens the same justice in the face of police brutality that it has granted puppies today.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.