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Graphic body cam footage shows police officer shooting 2 dogs

Officer shoots dogs

MINNEAPOLIS -- Body camera video released Thursday shows how two dogs approached a Minneapolis police officer before they were shot and seriously wounded in their fenced-in backyard earlier this month, CBS Minnesota reports

The officer was responding to a false security alarm on July 8 when he shot the dogs, according to the police report. One suffered a bullet wound to the jaw, and the other was hit multiple times in its body. Both dogs survived but will require extensive treatment.

In the body camera footage, the first dog can be seen approaching the officer, identified as Michael Mays, slowly with its tail wagging. After the officer shoots the animal in the face, the other dog dashes toward the officer and is hit by gunfire.

"I dispatched both of them," the officer reports immediately after the shooting. Video then shows Mays climb the backyard fence, walk around the house and speak to the teenage resident who tripped the alarm.

Body camera footage showing a police officer shooting two dogs in Minneapolis. Minneapolis Police Department / CBS Minnesota

He apologizes to the sobbing teenager for shooting the dogs, saying, "I don't like shooting dogs, I love dogs."

In a report filed the night of the shooting, Mays said that the dogs, which he described as pit bulls, charged at him.

The police union defended Mays, saying the first pit bull growled at him before approaching.

However, the body camera footage cannot verify this, as no sound was recorded until after shots were fired.

The body camera footage was released Thursday afternoon by Michael Padden, the attorney for the dogs' owner, Jennifer LeMay, who says the animals are service dogs for her children. At a news conference, Padden wanted to know why the audio on Mays' body camera wasn't turned on as the officer approached the house.

The day after the shooting happened, LeMay posted surveillance video taken by a backyard camera to Facebook, where it went viral, garnering hundreds of thousands of views. The video clearly shows Mays shooting both dogs and climbing over the fence.

A Facebook image of one of Jennifer LeMay's dogs. CBS Minnesota / Jennifer LeMay / Facebook

Minneapolis Police Chief Janee Harteau described the surveillance video as "difficult to watch." She called for an Internal Affairs use of force review of the incident and said that officer training courses on dealing with dogs will be updated.

So far, the department has yet to comment on Mays' actions.

The wounded dogs required thousands of dollars in veterinary treatment. A GoFundMe page to raise money for medical expenses has received nearly $40,000.

Harteau also said that the police department will help pay for treatment expenses.

The dog shooting is the second Minneapolis police incident this month involving questions of police and body cameras.

Over the weekend, Justine Damond, an Australian yoga teacher reporting a possible sexual assault in the alley behind her home, was fatally shot by a responding officer.

While both officers on the scene were wearing body cameras, neither was turned on when the fatal shot was fired. The shooting remains under investigation.

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