Star the pit bull survives shot to the head by an NYPD officer in East Village
Star, a pit bull type dog is listed in critical condition after surviving a gunshot to the head from an NYPD officer on Monday, August 13 outside of a KFC fast food restaurant at the corder of E. 14th St. and Second Ave.
Officers were flagged down after witness saw a man laying on the street, who was twitching and shaking. Reports say the officers surrounded the man and tried to roust him, angering the dog; according to the New York Daily News report instead of calling the ambulance, officers started kicking the man who was identified later as Lech Stankiewicz.
Johnny Rodriguez, who was visiting the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary nearby, said he and three other people alerted nearby police officers that the owner of the dog was in danger of being hit by traffic. “He was having a seizure, I saw him lying down on the ground..” said Rodriguez. ”I told one of the cops, ‘Hey, that dog is growling, be careful,’ because they were getting pretty close.. I used to have pit bulls and that’s just how they are, they protect their owners.”
The video that was uploaded to the internet shows a woman try to approach Stankiewicz and Star grabbing on to her pants before turning to approaching police officers. Officers then pull out their guns and shoot the dog, causing her to cry out and writhe in pain. After the dog collapses in front of a full city bus, the two officers consult with arriving back up as the crowd begins to confront and yell at the officers for shooting the dog. The by-stander’s video continues for over 9 minutes with the dog on the street, writhing in pain and openly bleeding with no medical attention while officers attempt to clear the crowd and even tell those recording/taking pictures that they’ve ‘gotten enough’ footage and photos. When Rodriguez [who is filming the video that can be seen on the Gothamist
] walks away from the scene, but still within distance to see the dog- the officer who shot Star asks him if he would like to go to jail.
An NYPD spokesman confirmed that officers discharged pepper spray on the dog before it was ‘killed’ [although Star is still alive at the Animal Care & Control center], however- Rodriguez says that police used mace only after the dog was shot. “If they used it, I didn’t see it, I was there the whole time though.” If you watch the video, you can see the officer on the right discharge his mace shortly after the dog is shot. Rodriguez says officers took him to the 9th Precinct where they uploaded his video for evidence, he also adds that he did not witness police kick the man or use physical force to attempt to rouse him.
Doug Halsey, the director of Ready For Rescue animal rescue group spoke to Gothamist reporters saying
“With the unfortunate frequency of police encountering aggressive dogs due to irresponsible owners, it seems they need to be better trained to handle the situation and be equipped with the proper tools and taught how to
use them to control dogs and other animals in situations like these.”
Employees of the KFC said Stankiewicz and Star frequented the area in front of the KFC and were “friendly and harmless.” Friends of the man told DNAinfo that he had epilepsy, and suffered frequent seizures.
No one has seen Stankiewicz since he was taken to the hospital after the incident and there has been no further updates on Star’s condition- other than she is showing slight signs of improvement.
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