My thousands of followers will remember a post from April 6 where I shared the story of that awful full moon night, when an APD cop was killed, and when another APD cop killed a suspect, Ahmeed Bradley. A few days ago, another bullet flew from an APD cops’ gun, but this time it killed a dog, Cisco.
Cisco and his master, Michael Paxton, were playing frisbee in their yard on April 14, when Michael went around the house to get something out of his truck, leaving Cisco in the yard to chew on a toy. Michael ran into a cop, who pulled his gun on him, and demanded that he raise his hands. Michael did so, and asked what was going on. Cisco, hearing the commotion, ran over and barked at the cop, like any good dog would. Michael said told the cop that Cisco wouldn’t bite him. The cop yelled something about the dog, and then the cop shot the dog dead. This all happened over maybe 5 seconds. Even if Michael hadn’t been ordered to keep his hands up, I find it hard to believe that he would have had time to grab his dog. To make the situation even more tragic, the incident the cop was responding to was at Michael’s neighbor’s place, it seems. Michael did not fit the description of the guy the cop was looking for. It’s not clear to me why the cop pulled his gun on Michael, especially since the cop himself wasn’t sure where he was supposed to be exactly; the recording reveals that he had asked the dispatcher what apartment he was supposed to go to. If you ask me, Cisco’s three or four barks do not sound that threatening. Cisco was a 50-pound blue healer dog. You can listen to the recording of the dashboard camera via this YouTube video.
Chief Acevedo apologized to Michael for the incident on the Dudley & Bob radio show, but apparently there is not going to be any further investigation, or any disciplinary action against the officer.
Some folks have set up a Facebook page called “Justice for Cisco”, and it has 47,957 likes. The story was featured on ABC, and on Good Morning America. Last night, I listened to the dashboard camera recording for the first time, and it made me cry.
I just did a Google search for Ahmeed Bradley, and the first link that popped up was the aforementioned Tumblr post. A search for “Justice for Ahmeed Bradley” doesn’t bring up any relevant results. The night I heard about Ahmeed Bradley’s death, I didn’t cry at all, and I haven’t dried about it since. I’ve sat and stewed about it. I’ve felt angry about it. I’ve shaken my head in disgust about it. Haven’t cried about it, though. And I haven’t liked a page for Ahmeed Bradley. And neither have 47,956 other people. There doesn’t seem to be one to like.
What’s that about? Ahmeed Bradley was a person. He was a baby, a child, and then a young man. His mother probably remembers his first haircut and stuff like that. Cisco was, I’m sure, a very good dog. Despite my anti-specieism, however, I have to say that Cisco was “just a dog,” as we often say. Why this huge outpouring of support for this poor guy and best furry friend, and relative silence on Mr. Bradley?
Is it because Mr. Bradley was black? Because he apparently had a criminal record and a history of drug abuse? Because he apparently ran from and fought a cop? Because Mr. Paxton is white?
Perhaps that all has something to do with it. Most people in our society think that cops are here to protect us, and are therefore more or less willing to give them the benefit of the doubt. (Personally, I think that the primary job of police is to protect those in power and maintain this vile, vile system… but that’s another subject.) So, if a cop kills a black fellow with a criminal record… Well, most folks aren’t going to get up in arms about it.
But folks do get up in arms when a cop kills a dog. There’s something about a dogs, it seems. They give us nothing but affection, which is probably why we’re so willing to spend so much time with them, spend so much money on them, organize our lives around making sure they are well cared for. They open our hearts. You know how when you see two puppies playing with each other, and you smile and say, “Aww!” That’s what I mean. It’s easier to be open-hearted to an animal, because they generally give us very little trouble.
I think that’s what our pets do for us. They open our hearts, and when our hearts are open, we are more open to the pain of a mother after her son is killed. That’s a good thing. So, like the Facebook page for Cisco, send some metta to Michael, let yourself be deeply touched by all the tragedy, cruelty, and injustice in the world, and keep walking the path of the ever-opening heart. We’ll all get there eventually, I think.
I feel pretty satisfied with what I’ve just written, but it seems there is something missing. How can I communicate the tragedy of all the violence in this world, though? Words fail.