COMMERCE CITY — Michael Violette, executive director of the Colorado Fraternal Order of Police, has a bone to pick with the Adams County District Attorney’s Office and the thousands of people outraged after the fatal shooting of a dog in Commerce City last November.
Violette, head of the largest police organization in the state, posted a letter on the Colorado FOP’s website last week defending Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price, who is charged with one felony count of aggravated animal cruelty following the shooting death of three-year-old Chloe, a dog that got loose Nov. 24, 2012, in the 9600 block of Nucla Street.
In the letter, Violette suggests Price is the victim of media sensationalism following the release of video of the incident online and that the general public does not have a clear grasp of how the events unfolded.
“As a result of this video the officers’ actions were vilified by an uninformed public. As is often the case there is a ‘lynch mob’ mentality promulgated by those whose core beliefs cause them to pre-judge an incident to match their pre-determined outcome without having heard all the facts,” Violette’s letter reads. “Video is never the whole story, but for those who seek to place immediate blame, or need an outcome that matches their belief system, it is a convenient tool.”
Video taken by a neighbor shows Price firing his service weapon multiple times after an attempt to get Chloe on a catch pole prove unsuccessful. The letter posted on the Colorado FOP site said it’s the police union’s “opinion these officers [Lodge and two others at the scene] did nothing wrong and are unfortunate victims of a sensationalized media event. This matter never should have been referred to the DA’s office by the department.”
Violette’s letter also sought for off-duty law-enforcement agents to attend Price’s arraignment at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 22 in a show of support for their fellow officer.
“There will be no rally. This will be a silent show of support,” Violette wrote. “We are hoping to fill the courtroom and hallways with brother and sister officers.”