Letter: You raided the wrong house and killed my dog

An open letter from US Army Sgt. Gary Aljoe to the Buffalo Police

To Detective Shawn Adams and Lieutenant Sean O’Brien

Buffalo Police Department, 74 Franklin Street, Buffalo, NY 14202

Dear Detective Adams and Lieutenant O’Brien,

I am writing to you in regards to the events that occurred on December 20, 2016. As you are aware, you were the team of officers that obtained a search warrant from Buffalo City Court Judge Thomas Amodeo for the house at 85 Ullman Street, executed the warrant, and also executed my dog, Sarge, in the process, without finding anything more than allegedly some residue; found in my son’s room.

Since that time, and going through Christmas and New Years without Sarge, my best friend, I have had nothing to do but think and reflect. With that in mind, I am hoping that, as fellow men in uniform, you will provide me with explanations to certain questions I have.

While you may have not given my dog or I a second thought, after you walked out of the house, these questions have been eating away at me.

As a veteran of 37 years who served his County to try and defend your freedoms, I am hoping you will provide me the courtesy of answering these. For I know that my son is not a drug dealer, and my dog is not a dangerous dog, and offered no threat you or any officers’ safety.

  1. How was a warrant obtained for my residence where neither the name, age, nor ethnicity was known of the supposed target?
  2. How often do you raid houses without knowing the target of the raid?
  3. My attorney, Matt Albert, informed me that both of you have shot numerous dogs in your career. Why is that the case, and do you think that the small amount of narcotics obtained on these search warrants where dogs are killed justify the killings of man’s best friend?
  4. Do they justify the intrusion of liberty and the right of people to be secure in their homes?
  5. After doing my research, I have estimated that thousands of dogs have been killed by Buffalo Police Narcotics throughout the years. Why have you not sought or received training in non-lethal methods of handling dogs, such as fire extinguishers and/or Tasers when confronting animals during search warrant cases?
  6. Why is it that the Niagara Falls Police Department, which rarely kills dogs, can implement such procedures successfully and not kill dogs, while the Buffalo Police Department doesn’t and continues to kill dogs during raids?
  7. Why is it that a single Buffalo Police Officer from your Narcotics team, Detective Joseph Cook, killed more dogs in a three-year period then the entire New York City Police Department?
  8. Do you not think this is astonishing, and that something is critically wrong with the way your Department handles raids the dogs of the people who live in these homes?
  9. Why did you remove Sarge’s immediately after killing him, depriving me of the opportunity to bury him?
  10. Did you remove him because a necropsy report would contradict your “Use of Force” report where you may have indicated the dog was shot at close range, as if he was charging you, when in reality the dog was shot at a safe distance?
  11.  When you busted into my house in the early morning, and as I was fully compliant with your instructions and my dog was cowering in dread and presented no threat to your safety, why didn’t you ask me to secure Sarge, as I was a mere few feet from him when he was killed, and I could have saved his life?

I am asking these questions not just for myself, or Sarge, who was my best friend, but for every resident of this city who believes the freedom of quiet enjoyment in one’s own home is one we should all enjoy as vital as Americans.

Freedom is what I fought for in my 37 years of military service.

My final question to you is this: By shooting dogs, kicking in doors, locking up so many people, ruining people’s lives over what is in reality for most users is illness and yet still seeing drugs running more rampant than ever in the community, what is it you are fighting for…?  and when is it time to admit that this fight is being fought incorrectly…  that changes in this battle need to be made?

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