My previous post on this tragic incident is found here. Briefly, a suspected robber, 22-year-old Mark Salazar, led Oklahoma police on a car chase that ended with Salazar jumping out of his vehicle and running away.
Sgt. Ryan Stark then set his police dog, named “Kye,” to pursue Salazar. When Stark finally caught up with Salazar and Kye, Salazar was stabbing the dog. Stark then shot Salazar dead.
I won’t go over my previous post over my disgust with the military styled funeral of this animal. My post for today will deal with whether or not Salazar was murdered by this OK police officer.
There are conflicting narratives over exactly what happened that caused Stark to kill Salazar. One story reports that Salazar was shot when he refused to drop his knife. The other, more disturbing narrative is from the coroner’s office that refutes this claim, claiming instead that Salazar was shot six times, with four of those shots in the back, while running away from Stark.
Clearly, the differing narratives fail to line up, and the attempts to reconcile them only increase speculation that someone is not telling the truth. The more I research this story, the more I am inclined to believe that some type of cover-up is occurring.
At this point, I can’t make any definitive claims as to what I believe happened that fateful day; all I can do at this point is to ask questions and try to make sense with the scant amount of information available to the public.
But I will admit to being disturbed by the death of this criminal and feel that there may be evidence to point to the uneasy conclusion that he was needlessly and wrongly gunned down by this police officer. If my suspicions prove correct, Salazar’s death was wholly unnecessary and there may be a claim that he was murdered at the hands of the Oklahoman police department.
Because I do not go along with the masses in believing that this police dog is a “canine officer” whose death rises to the same level as the death of a human police officer killed in the line of duty, my interpretation of the events is much different than someone who believes, as Oklahoma City Police Department Capt. Dexter Nelson does, that “[T]he dog is an officer; he’s considered that officer’s partner. They train together, they work together. So when a dog gets injured, it’s like an officer getting injured.”
Here is where the problem begins: believing that a police dog is an officer, on par with a human officer. Once you accept this deception, you will then be in favor of another deception: having a funeral for this dog that rivals funerals given for human officers who died in the line of duty. Suddenly, the line between animal and human is blurred, which results in a third deception that eclipses the first two and can easily result in the killing of a human being: if one believes that a dog is a “canine officer” that is viewed in the same way as a human police officer, and that what is done to the one—the human officer— is on the same level as that which is done to the other—the police dog—, then you will accept that killing a man or woman that is stabbing, shooting, clubbing or in anyway harming a police dog, is justified.
This is where murder becomes acceptable and where humanity crosses a line that should never be crossed. What is more frightening for the public is when those who are called upon to protect us, the members of the police departments nationwide, turn into killers of the very public they are sworn to protect.
I am not saying that I agree with what Salazar did; the man obviously committed a crime and was being pursued by police. He was a criminal and his crimes should be punished to the full extent of the law. But this does not mean that the life of a criminal should be taken just because that criminal was defending himself against a vicious attack by a trained German Shepherd.
I’m certain that most of us, if confronted with the same scenario, would have done the same thing as Salazar. A biting, snarling, vicious, attacking dog is the same whether it has been trained by a police officer or a drug dealer, and if a dog is tearing at my limbs and drawing my blood, I have every right to defend myself against that animal—police dog or not.
And in doing so, if it is an attack dog trained by the police and I am a criminal running from the scene of a crime being attacked by this dog, my life should never be in jeopardy if I kill that dog for biting, maiming and terrorizing me. It is a dog and I am a human; there should never be any question who is more valuable.