MEDIA RELEASE: Owners of Dog Shot by Pittsburgh Police Demand Criminal Charges be Dropped

Press conference – with the dog –  scheduled for 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, June 7 in case where police shot his own partner and a dog

June 6, 2017: The owners of a dog who was shot by a Pittsburgh police officer on March 10, 2017, in the Hazelwood neighborhood are holding a press conference tomorrow, Wednesday, June 7 at 10:00 a.m. in the courtyard of the County Courthouse to demand that the criminal charges brought against them be dropped.

The dog, King, will be at the press conference to show how he has healed, how friendly he is, and that he is stronger than a police bullet.

Marlon Jackson, Devin Paige, and Saundra Cole are facing criminal charges after three plainclothes Pittsburgh police officers rushed into the yard of the Cole home on March 10, pursuing Mr. Paige for allegedly committing a summary offense. The officers drew their tasers. When questioned what they were doing by Mr. Jackson, the officers attempted to force him to remain outside by grabbing him by the shoulders as he was entering the house. When the door opened the family dog, King, came outside to see what was going on.

Although King is a friendly 4-year-old pit bull, about 60 pounds, who has never hurt anybody, officer Goetz panicked and drew his gun. Waving the gun in the tight area of the front porch, Goetz fired a shot, missing the dog but striking his partner, officer Brown, in the foot. King ran away across the street before officer Goetz fired another shot, striking him in the left buttock.

Officer Berberich later filled out a criminal complaint charging Marlon Jackson with aggravated assault, three counts of recklessly endangering another person, and animal cruelty. Saundra Cole was charged with Hindering the Apprehension or Prosecution for driving her car a few feet as she and her son were going to look for the wounded dog more than 30 minutes after the shooting. Neither her nor Mr. Jackson had been taken into custody.

“These are textbook ‘cover charges’, brought for the sole purpose of covering up officer misconduct,” said the family’s attorney, Bret Grote, Legal Director of the Abolitionist Law Center. “The charges are baseless and should be dropped immediately, and the officers should provide restitution for King’s veterinarian and surgery bills.”

Saundra Cole said she will continue to speak out: “Police officers cannot continue to treat our communities like a war zone and our children like enemy combatants. Racial profiling and trigger-happy policing in Hazelwood and the rest of Pittsburgh needs to stop.”


Sandra Cole        412-670-8421

Bret Grote           412-654-9070