By Carrie Wells, The Baltimore Sun
4:50 PM EDT, August 26, 2013
A Northeast Baltimore family sued the city and police department Monday after their dog was fatally shot earlier this year by a police officer who had chased a suspect into their backyard.
Kincaid, a three-year-old pitbull mix, was shot three times on the morning of January 1 after a suspect in a domestic dispute jumped a fence and hid in the backyard of Stacy Fields and her stepfather, Ed Augustine.
Police have previously said the dog lunged at an officer, who then shot the dog to protect his safety. Augustine and Fields dispute that account, saying the dog was barking at the officers but not otherwise acting aggressively and that Augustine was reaching over to restrain the dog at the time.
Baltimore police officials declined to comment on the lawsuit in Baltimore Circuit Court. The lawsuit also lists the state as a defendant, along with two officers who are not identified by name.
An officer fired six shots, hitting the dog three times — twice in the head and once in the body. Augustine was just two feet away and was "fortunate" to not be struck by the gunfire as well, according to the lawsuit.
Augustine and Fields also argue that after Kincaid was shot, the police officers joked with each other and told them the dog had to be buried outside of city limits. One officer congratulated the other officer on his marksmanship after the shooting, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are asking for $450,000 and attorney fees, though state law caps claims against municipalities at $200,000.
"The three year story of Kincaid's happy and carefree existence was punctuated abruptly by the harsh staccato of [an officer's] sidearm," the lawsuit states.
A Facebook page launched by the family called "Kincaid. Killed by Baltimore City Police." had more than 10,000 likes as of Monday.
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