Commerce City Police Officer Acquitted of Aggravated Animal Cruelty Charges

| by Khier Casino

A police officer from Commerce City who shot and killed a captured pit bull mix named Chloe while on a loose pet call was acquitted of the charges of animal cruelty. During the incident, which happened last November, the 3-year-old dog was controlled with a catch pole noose, and shocked with a stun gun before she was shot five times.

Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price was found not guilty by an Adam County Court jury on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals. There was a three hour deliberation before the jury made their decision.

The jury watched a five minute video captured by 12-year-old neighbor, which became key evidence when reaching a decision in the closing arguments.

"I respect the jury's verdict," said District Attorney Dave Young in a written statement. "These are very difficult cases for prosecutors to handle. We presented all the evidence to the jury, including the video of the shooting, and the jury based its verdict on that."

Price did not want to comment after the acquittal. He has been on paid administrative leave since December and will be permitted to go back to work.

According to police, Price could not find the owner of the dog, which he said stayed restless and unrestrained.

Price’s attorneys told the jury that the video does not reveal everything that occurred during the incident. Still frames of the video were also provided by defense attorneys. They claim that Chloe was headed for the officers before they even fired a shot.

"You should consider the testimony of people who were there," defense attorney Donald Sisson says.

"In my opinion he was guilty, but the jury saw it different and we have to live with that," said Gary Branson, the person responsible for Chloe.

Branson was not present when the incident took place. He said he was disheartened by the verdict.