Loveland Police Videos Show Shootings of Puppy, Intellectually Disabled Teen

Loveland Police Department via YouTube/Loveland Police Department via YouTube
Loveland Police videos released this week show the shooting of a dog named Herkimer and nineteen-year-old Alex Domina.
Recent close-ups of the Loveland Police Department haven't been pretty.

In April, video revealed the brutal 2020 arrest of Karen Garner, an elderly dementia patient who was roughed up after failing to pay for $13.88 worth of items from a Walmart; criminal charges were subsequently, and belatedly, pressed against the two officers involved. And this week, two more disturbing clips were released. The first shows the shooting earlier this month of Alex Domina, an intellectually disabled nineteen-year-old armed with a knife, and the second captures the 2019 gun-down of Herkimer, a fourteen-month-old puppy — an incident that's spawned a lawsuit against two cops, police chief Bob Ticer and the City of Loveland.

The shooting of Domina, who remains hospitalized, took place on August 16; the video was issued on August 25 by the Loveland Police Department in compliance with a recent state law requiring that such footage be made public in a timely manner. LPD public-information officer Tom Hacker notes that "Chief Bob Ticer’s recorded message that accompanies the body-worn camera video and 911 audio is intended to serve as the department’s comment on the incident. Under the rules governing the Critical Incident Review Team investigation, led by Fort Collins Police Services, it would not be appropriate to add any comment beyond the chief’s message."

In his introduction to the video, Ticer says: "As part of our police department's and city's pledge to be transparent with the public, I am sharing with you information about an officer-involved shooting that occurred on Monday, August 16, 2021, on Tennessee Street in Loveland. You're about to hear a 911 call and see relevant body-worn camera footage from officers involved. Some of the video, as well as the audio, has been either blurred or redacted to protect the substantial privacy interests of the individuals involved in this incident. This Critical Incident Response Team investigation, also known as CIRT, is being conducted by Fort Collins Police Services under the direction of the 8th Judicial District Attorney. This is an active investigation and the overall understanding of the incident may change as the remaining evidence may be collected, analyzed and reviewed. We also do not draw any conclusions about whether the officers acted consistent with our polices and the law until all the facts are known and the investigation is complete. A word of caution: The audio you are about to hear and images you are about to see may be disturbing for some audiences. Viewer discretion is advised."

This warning is wholly appropriate. Here's the video:
Attorney Mari Newman, who represents Domina and his family, could not be reached for comment, but she put out this statement about the video: "Alex’s family was able to view the video just minutes before it was released to the public. It was excruciatingly difficult to watch. This tragic outcome highlights the need for first responders with mental health training for calls like this. Alex has undergone five surgeries so far, and remains in critical condition. Alex’s family appreciates the community’s continued support as Alex fights for his life."

The second video, also unveiled on August 25, accompanied a lawsuit that names Ticer, the City of Loveland and two police officers, Mathew Grashorn and Philip Metzler. The plaintiffs are Wendy Love and Jay Hamm, owners of Herkimer, a fourteen-month-old puppy shot dead on June 29, 2019. The attorney who filed the case is Sarah Schielke of the Life & Liberty Law Office in Loveland; she also represents Karen Garner and her family.

According to the lawsuit, Love and Hamm were in a parking lot with Herkimer and two other family dogs when the officers arrived; they'd been summoned in response to a call from the lot's owner. When Herkimer, a Staffordshire terrier/boxer mix, and one of the other dogs started toward him, Grashorn drew his firearm, and when the puppy didn't immediately respond to a call from Love and Hamm and kept approaching, he pulled his trigger. The lawsuit contends that the officer was in no immediate danger and claims that Grashorn yelled that he had "no way of knowing" whether Herkimer was friendly and "wasn't in the business to get bit."

A short version of the video is below; the complete body-worn camera footage can be accessed here. Schielke stresses that "the horrific needlessness of this shooting makes this video extremely difficult to watch. Do not view in the presence of children."
Regarding the shooting of Herkimer, LPD public-information officer Hacker states that "while it is difficult to respond to questions that are subject to litigation, we hope we can soon address publicly the issues that have come to light."

Click to read Wendy Love and Jay Hamm v. City of Loveland, et al.