Jury: Tennessee trooper used excessive force in arrest in which dog shot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) -- A federal jury has awarded $9,100 to a family whose dog was shot by a state trooper in Cookeville during a 2003 traffic stop.

The jury in the civil suit said Wednesday that Highway Patrol Sgt. David Bush used excessive force when restraining driver James Smoak.

A patrol car video of the dog shooting was widely shown on television. The Smoak family of Saluda, N.C., had been wrongly identified as suspects in a robbery.

The family was ordered by officers to kneel on the highway shoulder when their dog, Patton, escaped from the vehicle through an open door that the family had repeatedly asked officers to close.

Cookeville police officer Eric Hall shot the 55-pound mixed breed pit bull, which could be seen wagging its tail in the video. Hall said he thought the dog was about to attack.

The Smoaks already settled with the city of Cookeville for $77,500 in a separate lawsuit.


Information from: The Tennessean, http://www.tennessean.com

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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