Family files complaint after cop shoots dog
Family files complaintafter cop shoots dog
COOKEVILLE, Tenn. -- A family has filed multiple complaints after police mistakenly pulled them over as robbery suspects, then shot and killed their dog as it bounded from the car.
A tape released by authorities Wednesday documents the situation, which began when a Tennessee state trooper and three Cookeville police cars pulled over James Smoak and his family as they drove home Jan. 1 from a vacation.
The trooper suspected the Smoaks' dark green station wagon was connected to a robbery, Tennessee Highway Patrol officials said.
Troopers ordered the family out of the car, and the video shows James and Pamela Smoak and their 17-year-old son, Brandon, obeying. They came out with their hands up, got down and were handcuffed.
About a minute after the traffic stop, one of their dogs -- a bulldog-boxer mix named Patton -- jumped from the car and raced toward Cookeville police officer Eric Hall, who was holding a shotgun. The tape shows that Hall stepped back and fired just before Patton reached him.
The dog appeared to be wagging its tail as it ran toward the officer, the tape shows. Patton died from the shotgun blast.
And as it turns out, the Smoaks had not committed a crime at all. Police had suspected them based on a report of money flying from their car as it sped down Interstate 40. They later discovered Smoak had simply left his wallet on the car while pumping gas.
Smoak, of Saluda, N.C., declined to comment Wednesday. He said he is pursuing legal action and has been advised not to discuss the case.
Hall, the officer who shot the dog, has contended he had no choice when the animal charged him.
Tenn. county to auctioncommandments plaques
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- County commissioners who lost a court fight over displaying the Ten Commandments on courthouse walls voted to pay their attorneys by selling the plaques to the highest bidder.
Commissioners decided Wednesday to seek bids of at least $2,000 for each of the plaques that a federal judge ordered removed.
The proceeds will be used to pay legal bills remaining from the commission's unsuccessful court fight against the American Civil Liberties Union, said Commissioner Curtis Adams, who voted for the sale.
Adams said the auction will allow commissioners to keep a promise that no taxpayer money would be spent paying attorneys. Private donors already provided about $70,000 for the commission's legal costs and about $7,000 remained unpaid, he said.
Adams said he had no regrets, despite difficulties in paying off the legal debt. "We backed up this country as far as our Christian values," he said.
New ads link SUVsto terrorism funding
LOS ANGELES -- A group hoping to lessen U.S. reliance on foreign oil debuted two television ads Wednesday that link sport utility vehicles to terrorist funding.
The ads mimic spots that link drug money to terrorism.
One commercial features a child's voiceover and shows a man filling his gas tank and footage of terrorist training. The closing statement: "Oil money supports some terrible things. What kind of mileage does your SUV get?"
The other ad shows people talking about their SUVs. One says, "My kids think it's cool." Another says, "I helped blow up a nightclub."
The 30-second ads were created for The Detroit Project, a nonprofit launched by syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington. They will begin airing Sunday in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington and Detroit.
"This campaign is not designed to demonize SUV owners," Huffington said. "We want to encourage customers to connect the dots and make socially responsible consumer choices."
Ruling on legislators
JERUSALEM -- Israel's Supreme Court restored the candidacy of two Arab legislators today in a ruling expected to help block a tidal wave of resentment by Israel's large Arab minority.
The high court ruling was rendered by 11 justices, a number usually reserved for landmark cases. The court overturned a decision two weeks ago by the Central Election Commission to disqualify Arab legislators Azmi Bishara and Ahmed Tibi on grounds they sided with Israel's enemies.
Many of Israel's 1.2 million Arab citizens saw the case as a watershed in their troubled relations with the Jewish majority. Israeli Arabs have long complained of discrimination at the hands of Israeli governments, and the disqualification of Bishara and Tibi was seen as an attempt to curb the Arab voice.