A surveillance video obtained by the New York Daily News from a Bronx apartment building shows NYPD officer shooting a woman’s 4-year-old pet pitbull in a stairway almost on sight.
One minute Yvonne Rosado was dancing with her beloved ‘Spike’ inside their Bronx apartment — and the next, her Spike was dead in the hallway with a cop’s bullet lodged in his skull. The entire tragedy was captured on surveillance video.
via NY Daily News:
The pet’s devastated owner says the cop needlessly lost his cool when the typically pleasant pooch, its tail wagging happily, wandered outside before the Feb. 13 tragedy.
“The officer just reacted badly,” a teary Rosado told the Daily News on Thursday. “I was screaming, ‘He’s friendly! He’s friendly!’ But he still did that to my dog.”
Rosado, 42, said Spike posed a threat to no one, comparing her slain dog to a fluffy Sesame Street favorite.
“He was like a big Snuffleupagus — a gentle giant,” she told The News. “He was a member of the family … He would wag his tail, letting everyone know he was friendly.”
In a weekly ritual, the 70-pound dog was standing on its hind legs and dancing with Rosado to a song by Kid Cudi just before the shooting.
“He’s right there when the music’s about to start,” Rosado said. “I dance around with him and I spin him with one paw.”
But the dog started barking once the cops from the 46th Precinct arrived around 5:30 a.m. When Rosado opened her door to see what was happening, Spike slipped into the hallway — where the cop was standing near 16-year-old neighbor Serena Santiago.
The video captured the officer shooting at the doomed pooch from about 3 feet away. The cop fired almost immediately, as he scurried down a few stairs.
“What if he had missed the dog and shot my daughter?” asked the teen’s mom, Irma Sue Santiago. “She’s traumatized by the whole thing.”
Santiago, 46, said the cop was never at risk during the brief confrontation.
“Spike died wagging his tail,” she said.
According to Rosado, the police have never explained what happened or apologized for the shooting. A source identified the cop who fired as Ruben Cuesta, who joined the NYPD in 2008.
Police issued a terse statement about the shooting.
“The incident is being reviewed by our Force Investigation Division and the findings will be subject to a firearms discharge review board,” a police spokesman said.
The department also refused to say if the two cops were carrying the NYPD’s new, more potent pepper spray unveiled because the old version was ineffective on dogs.
The cop who fired the shot was taken to an area hospital for tinnitus — but Santiago had little sympathy for the shooter.
“I heard the cops had to go to the hospital for ringing ears, but my daughter has to go to psychiatric therapy for this,” she said of her daughter.
Rosado has already filed a notice of claim for a possible lawsuit against the city. She was also planning to file a grievance against the officers with the city’s Civilian Complaint Review Board.
“Did the NYPD learn nothing from Peter Liang?” asked Rosado family attorney David Thompson, referring to the rookie cop convicted of shooting an unarmed man in a darkened Brooklyn stairwell in November 2014. “Don’t fire your damn gun in an apartment house stairwell unless you absolutely, positively, 100% got to do it.”
Rosado claims the NYPD killed her legless pet cat, Bebe, about six years ago, breaking the kitty’s neck during a search of another Bronx apartment.
The startling video captured the cop who shot the dog sheepishly walking down the stairs. He re-emerges to poke his head out from the staircase.
Rosado’s panicked family is seen racing out to cradle the dying Spike, whose tail kept wagging as the life seeped from the pet. Hazel, another family dog, walked from the apartment, as if to check on Spike, but was quickly ushered back inside the home. Rosado, wearing only her undergarments, slipped down the stairs, her feet slick with the dog’s blood. She took a few swings at a cop and was restrained by police. Rosado wasn’t charged.
The officers were dispatched to the E. 183rd St. building after Rosado’s neighbor said a former boyfriend — the subject of an order of protection — tried to come inside. He was long gone by the time police arrived.
According to NYPD policy, cops can shoot at animals “only to defend themselves or others from threat of physical injury, or death.” They are only allowed to use their weapons “as a last resort to stop an animal attack.”
In 2014 — the last time the NYPD put out its firearm discharge report — cops had shot at 18 animals, most of them dogs. It’s one fewer than the 19 in 2013. In 2011, 36 animals were shot by police during animal attacks, officials said.
Spike has been cremated, Rosado said.