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A day after a Metropolitan Police Department officer shot and killed a dog during Adams Morgan Day, it’s still not entirely clear exactly what happened during the incident.
Scott Fike, a 25-year veteran of the department, shot the dog, named Parrot, after intervening in an altercation between two dogs on 18th Street. Aaron Block, the 25-year old caretaker of the dog and a Dupont Circle resident, said Parrot was “a full 12 to 15 steps away,” and was “making no aggressive overtures,” according to the Washington Post.
Police, festival attendees, and store owners shared conflicting perspectives on the use of force during the incident. MPD justified the shooting by saying the dog acted aggressively even after being subdued, but some witnesses want more evidence to justify the officer’s actions. Even the breed of the dog has been the subject of great debate: police say the dog was a pit bull, and others say it was a mixed-breed shar pei—a dog that looks like a pit bull to the untrained eye, but which doesn’t have the violent reputation of the other breed.
Block was walking the 2-year old dog on 18th Street NW when Parrot turned around and bit a poodle going in the opposite direction. Block said he helped separate the dogs and was restraining Parrot when the police arrived.
Fike took over from that point and originally subdued Parrot by putting his knee in the dog’s back and pulling his hind legs behind him. Fike then took the dog by his nape and threw him over the banister of the Brass Knob antique shop, according to the Post, but was “led down the stairwell of the Brass Knob,” according to a report from DCist. According to Block, Fike fired the lone shot right after the dog became upright again.
Witnesses had various perspectives of the incident, some of which said the officer acted hastily and outside of protocol. Other said the officer’s actions were justified. Jacob Kishter, commander of the 3rd Police District, told the Post “that once the officer pushed the dog down the stairwell, ‘the dog immediately turns and runs at the officer aggressively.'” Kishter said the officer, owners of both dogs, and other officers were interviewed about the incident and that Fike’s actions were justified based on information MPD gathered.
Soleiman Askarinam, owner of Spaghetti Garden on 18th Street, spoke with both the Post and DCist, and said an overall peaceful day was “sadly punctuated” by dogs barking, a shot, and screams.