2013: a year of very bad cops (and some good ones)

Vice's Year in Bad Cops rounds up the worst American police stories of the years: cops who executed peaceful housepets in front of children, cops who forgot about jailed innocents and left them to drink their own urine, cops whose dogs only attack brown people, cops who only stop-and-frisk brown people, and, of course, Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

But the article also singles out Chris Burbank, the Chief of the Salt Lake City Police who sounds like an awesome guy. He arranged for a peaceful, respectful eviction of SLC Occupy, refuses to have his officers enforce immigration laws, and won't turn his cops into militarized SWAT goons. His motto: "[The cops] aren't an occupying force. We are a part of the community."

Most Cowardly Pet Killing, Dog Category: Antoine Jones of Georgia
On October 7, Antoine Jones, a six-foot, 300-pound probation officer, went to the Albany, Georgia, home of Cherrie Shelton, as he had multiple times in the past in order to check up on her son. As Jones walked to the door, Shelton’s 12-pound Jack Russell terrier Patches ran outside barking at him. Shelton told the local news she tried to explain that Patches didn’t bite, but before she could finish, Jones shot her dog, who died half an hour later. The officer said in a report he was threatened by the tiny dog, but though the Georgia Department of Corrections initially supported him, an internal investigation of the incident was reportedly opened at the end of October.

Most Cowardly Pet killing, Non-Dog Category: Unnamed NYPD Officers
According to a lawsuit filed by Evelyn Lugo, during a legally dubious raid on her home in September 2012 a New York cop stomped the family’s pet parakeet to death while yelling, “Fuck the bird!” The injuries to several family members are documented in photographs, so it’s quite possible the bird-murder portion of the complaint is accurate as well. RIP Tito the bird.

Most Cowardly Pet Killing, in Front of Children Category: Barry Accorti of Ohio
On June 10, a North Ridgeville, Ohio, police officer responded to a call to remove five feral kittens from a yard. According to the homeowner, officer Barry Accorti told her that the cats were going to “kitty heaven,” as the shelters were full, then shot them all 15 feet from her door. Her children saw the whole thing and were naturally hysterical, and the woman was baffled that Accorti would murder cats so casually within their earshot. Though the North Ridgeville Police Department’s Facebook page was swamped by threats and complaints when the story came out, chief Mike Freeman said his officer’s “actions were appropriate.”

This Year in Bad Cops [Lucy Steigerwald/Vice]

(Image: SWAT team members prepare for a training exercise/Oregon Department of Transportation)