The Bloodthirsty and Lawless Harrisonburg Police Follow Up Their Bludgeoning to Death of an Injured Cat by Gunning Down a Collie Named Sadie
|Memorial in Honor of Sadie|
"The time will come when men, such as I, will look upon the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder of men."
-- Leonardo da Vinci
Another companion animal has been deliberately and needlessly killed by a bloodthirsty member of the Harrisonburg Police Department (HPD). This time the victim was an eight-month-old, twenty-pound collie-mix named Sadie whose only crime was to run across the path of Sergeant Russell Metcalf.
Metcalf was riding his bicycle on Robinson Road in the Clover Hill section of town on April 3rd when Sadie wandered out into the road. Without further provocation, he immediately drew his service revolver and shot her between the eyes.
It has not been disclosed whether Metcalf was on patrol or off-duty at the time of the shooting. Since it would have been highly irregular for a sergeant to be assigned to bicycle duty, more than likely he was off-duty. Also, since he resides in nearby Dayton, which is only 3.2 kilometers south of Harrisonburg, he could have been either returning home or on his way to work.
An unidentified eyewitness later told the Daily News-Record of Harrisonburg on May 8th that although Sadie was indeed in the road she was not acting aggressively. (See "City Cop Charged in Dog Shooting.")
The eyewitness account of events is further buttressed by the testimony of Sadie's owner, forty-six-year-old Bryan Ware, who is on record as stating that she neither was aggressive nor intimidating. As for Metcalf, neither he nor the law firm of Aaron Cook, which is representing him, have publicly commented on the case.
Thousands of pedestrians and bicyclists, especially letter carriers and delivery personnel, are accosted by dogs every day but absolutely none of them of them take the expedient of pulling out guns and shooting them. To do so would not only be barbaric and cruel, but there simply are better ways of dealing with the unwanted attentions of dogs.
In this case, Metcalf was on his bike and likely could have outrun Sadie. If worse had come to worst, he could have used either water, noise, or some other nonlethal method of deterring her.
Even if Sadie had bitten him it is unlikely that she would have seriously injured him since she was such a small dog. Usually, it is only large, vicious dogs that are capable of seriously harming an adult.
Being an egomaniacal cop who is not accustomed to being crossed by any animal or human being, Metcalf likely felt insulted that Sadie had had the temerity to venture into his path and responded with murderous intent. He also very well could be a dog- hater with a long history of abusing members of the species.
Despite the magnitude of his crime, Metcalf was not immediately charged with any offense. Rather, it took the appointment of Shenandoah County district attorney Amanda McDonald Wiseley to even determine if a crime had been committed.
Eventually, she arrived at the inescapable conclusion that one indeed had been committed and on May 18th, more than six weeks after Sadie's murder, Metcalf was arrested by the Rockingham County Sheriff's Office and charged with one count of animal cruelty and one count of reckless use of a firearm. He was released on his own recognizance and his case, GC12002819-00, is scheduled to be heard at 2 p.m. on August 23rd in Rockingham County General District Court.
Neither the judge nor the prosecutor has been publicly named but presumably a local jurist will try the case while someone from Rockingham County district attorney Marsha Garst's staff will serve as prosecutor. Considering that police officers, prosecutors, and judges all belong to the same fraternity, it is highly unlikely that either the ends of justice will be served or that Sadie's murderer will be punished.
As the rusty and decrepit wheels of justice slowly began to turn Metcalf was taken off of active patrol and given a desk job. He will continue to live high on the hog, however, by drawing his full salary and all the lavish perks that go with being a police officer. If he were on duty when he killed Sadie, the taxpayers also will be on the hook for his legal expenses.
For whatever little it is worth, the HPD claims to have launched an internal investigation into the matter but anyone expecting it to do anything other than to close ranks behind Metcalf and to give him a clean bill of health is living in a dream world. That is a serious mistake not only in its own right but because this certainly is not the first time that Metcalf has taken the law into his own hands.
Specifically, the web site www.popehat.com reported on May 26th that he previously punched Griffin Strother Jr. in the face on February 9, 2002 while arresting his companion, Stephanie Thompson. (See "Where Are They Now? Russell Metcalf Edition.")
Strother in turn sued Metcalf for excessive use of force and violation of his civil rights in the United States District Court for the Western District of Virginia, which sits in Harrisonburg, but Judge James H. Michael Jr., true to form, ruled in favor of his assailant on February 10, 2003. (A link to Michael's opinion can be found at popehat.)
Since a cop can no more change his modus operandi than a leopard can alter its spots, it is likely that Metcalf has a long history of abusing both animals and individuals. It is doubtful, however, that any of his prior abuses of authority ever will see the light of day at his upcoming trial.
Metcalf's unprovoked murder of Sadie marked the second time within a six-month span that a member of the HPD had brutally killed a companion animal. For example, on November 11th of last year twenty-five-year-old Jonathan N. Snoddy of Bridgewater, 3.2 kilometers south of Dayton, savagely bludgeoned to death an injured cat.
Run down and left for dead by a hit-and-run motorist who is still at large, the cat of unspecified sex, pedigree,description, and age was discovered by kindhearted Wayne Meadows of Settlers Lane. After failing to persuade the worthless and uncaring Harrisonburg SPCA, Animal Control, and several local veterinarians to intervene, he committed the monumental mistake of telephoning the HPD.
Although Snoddy easily could have driven the injured cat to a nearby veterinary clinic for treatment, he instead elected to beat it to a bloody pulp with his night stick. That unprovoked and sadistic attack, which consisted of fifteen to twenty blows to the head, was so violent and prolonged that it left Meadows' porch in shambles and drenched in blood.
As it now has done with Metcalf, the HPD claimed at the time to have opened an internal investigation into Snoddy's behavior but nothing further ever was heard about the matter. The no-account rotters who sit on the Harrisonburg City Council likewise chose to look the other way and to pretend that nothing untoward had occurred.
Under intense pressure from animal protection groups, the Virginia State Police belatedly decided to investigate the matter and that culminated in Snoddy's being charged on January 12th with one count of misdemeanor animal cruelty. Later on March 8th he was found guilty in Rockingham General District Court and fined a puny $50 by Judge Steven "stench of the bench" Helvin.
Despite his conviction, Snoddy was reinstated to active duty the last week of March by Chief of Police Donald Harper just days before he hightailed it into retirement. Prior to that, Snoddy, like Metcalf, had been relegated to a desk job but with full pay and benefits. (See Cat Defender post of March 22, 2012 entitled "In Another Outrageous Miscarriage of Justice, Rogue Cop Jonathan N. Snoddy Is Let Off with a $50 Fine for Savagely Bludgeoning to Death an Injured Cat.")
Long before the ink was even dry on Helvin's overly generous ruling, Snoddy's shysters, John C. Holloran and Bill Eldridge, were back in court on March 9th demanding a new trial. Since Virginia's legal and political establishment goes to such extraordinary lengths in order to protect and to defend its own members, that demand immediately was granted with Snoddy's new trial, this one before a jury of his peers, initially scheduled to have commenced April 9th in Rockingham County Circuit Court with Judge James V. Lane presiding.
To put the matter in its proper perspective, it took the legal and political establishment in Harrisonburg two months in order to even bring charges against Snoddy and yet when it finally was forced into acting it turned around and with an alacrity seldom seen in judicial circles granted him two chances in order to clear his name within the span of a month. Normally, defendants are granted only one trial, either a bench or a jury hearing, and they are allowed that only after being forced to wait an average of, more or less, nine months. Even more outrageously, the poor who are unable to make bail are forced to cool their heels in the slammer until they finally are given their day in court.
The Virginia State Bar unexpectedly put the brakes on the Snoddy Express when it intervened and asked prosecutors in Rockingham County to recuse themselves due to a conflict of interest. Although better late than never, that is precisely what the Bar should have done from the outset and should do now in regard to Metcalf.
In their stead, Lane appointed Kenneth Lee Alger III, the head prosecutor in Page County, to retry Snoddy. Since he therefore required a measure of time in order to familiarize himself with the salient facts of the case, the trial was postponed until June 7th. (See Cat Defender post of April 26, 2012 entitled "Virginia's Disreputable Legal and Political Establishment Is All Set to Acquit Jonathan N. Snoddy at His Retrial for Brutally Beating to Death an Injured Cat.")
The contending parties unexpectedly were back in Lane's courtroom on May 31st for some additional legal wrangling at which time the case, CR12000307-00, was postponed yet again until July 30th. Thus, from going all-out in an effort to speedily exonerate Snoddy, Virginia's legal and political establishment now adroitly has reversed course and is committed to dragging out his retrial for as long as it takes until the public finally loses interest in it.
None of that is going to make any real difference in the long run because there simply is not any way that a jury comprised of a dozen of Snoddy's redneck buddies is going to convict him of killing a cat. The entire exercise is an elaborate charade designed to hoodwink the public into believing that a semblance of justice has been meted out.
The only remaining drama centers on Alger and how he will endeavor to purposefully lose the case while simultaneously safeguarding his reputation as a halfway honest public prosecutor. Just watching him attempt to pull off that leger de main should provide court watchers with a show that is part ventriloquism and part burlesque.
It additionally will be interesting to see if either the Daily News-Record or WHSV-TV will even bother to cover the trial. Animal rights groups already have washed their hands of the matter and no response, either way, is expected from any of them.
As for Metcalf, although it is conceivable that he could be convicted on both charges, he most assuredly will be let off, like Snoddy, with an insignificant fine. He then will ask for a new trial and eventually escape justice totally unscathed.
He will be allowed to either retain his job or to retire early with a full pension. Even under the latter scenario his friends within the legal and political establishment are certain to see to it that he is provided with another lucrative sinecure within either the public or private sectors.
Stephen Monticelli, formerly of the police department in Columbia, Missouri, has replaced the moribund Harper as chief but not only the killing of cats and dogs but the shielding of their murderers continues unabated. The HPD, quite obviously, is unwilling to mend its lawless ways and that alone makes outside scrutiny of its abhorrent record on both animal and civil rights an imperative.
Police abuse and disrespect for the sanctity of canine life is by no means confined to randomized acts of violence, such as the one perpetrated against Sadie. Rather, it is pretty much standard procedure for cops to shoot any dog that so much as growls at them.
For example, on June 10th an unidentified police officer responding to an incident in the 2400 block of North Fifty-Sixth Street in the Wynnefield section of Philadelphia needlessly shot to death a dog after it had bitten a fellow officer on the wrist. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, June 11, 2012, "Officer Hospitalized with Dog Bite.")
The two officers and their colleagues certainly were capable of subduing the dog without killing it. After all, cops are confronted by dogs every day of the week and it accordingly is totally inexcusable that their departments do not have nonlethal contingency plans in place in order to humanely deal with them.
Officers additionally kill countless police dogs each year by deliberately siccing them on armed suspects that they are far too cowardly to confront themselves. These loyal and brave dogs thus go willingly to their executions never knowing either the mortal dangers involved or that they are breathing their last breaths on this earth.
In recent years there has been a spate of press reports concerning police dogs that have died from cancer. Although it never is disclosed how they contracted the disease, it possibly could be the result of being cooped up all day inside squad cars with officers who smoke like a chimney. (See Cat Defender post of October 19, 2007 entitled "Smokers Are Killing Their Cats, Dogs, Birds, and Infants by Continuing to Light Up in Their Presence.")
Even thirdhand smoke, defined as the contamination (arsenic, lead, cyanide, and other toxins) that is left behind on surfaces as well as that which seeps through shared air ducts and ventilation systems in apartment buildings and offices, is in all likelihood killing dogs, cats, and other animals that are imprisoned indoors. It already has been identified as being harmful to children but it is cats who, due to their incessant grooming, that are at the greatest risk. (See The Philadelphia Inquirer, July 18, 2012, "An Invisible Danger.")
Furthermore, deploying dogs in perilous rescue missions where the air is contaminated with pollutants and carcinogens could not possibly be beneficial to their long-term health. Although it has not been disclosed what killed them, of the one-hundred or so cadaver dogs employed at Ground Zero only a dozen of them were still alive a decade later. (See Daily Mail, September 5, 2011, "The 9-11 Rescue Dogs: Portraits of the Last Surviving Animals Who Scoured Ground Zero a Decade On.")
It is man who has created and perpetuates the ills, both domestic and international, that plague societies and accordingly it is he who should deal with them. To hoodwink totally innocent and naïve dogs into doing his dirty work for him is not only the very epitome of animal cruelty but cowardly as well. Yet, no animal rights group is willing to speak up on behalf of either police and rescue dogs or those nakedly exploited in combat zones.
Most police officers of today are no longer willing to either break a sweat or to dirty their uniforms. Instead, they rely upon guns, Tasers, and dogs in order to subdue and often kill both animals and suspects. (See Cat Defender posts of April 29, 2008 and April 8, 2008 entitled, respectively, "Orange County Sheriff's Department Is Accused of Killing a Cat with a Taser at the Theo Lacy Jail" and "Ohio Politician Proposes Adding Cats to the Growing List of Pigs, Other Animals, and Humans Killed by Tasers.")
Quickly resolving complicated social and legal dilemmas by summarily liquidating animals and humans also provides them with almost unlimited time in order to goldbrick, nefariously pad their time sheets with tons of overtime, and to collect all sorts of graft. All that it takes in order to kill either an animal or a suspect is a split second and life, especially in America, has become oh so very cheap.
Widespread and systematic police abuse and exploitation of dogs pales in comparison, however, with the utter contempt that they display for the sanctity of feline life. (See Cat Defender posts of March 31, 2008, September 16, 2009, July 8, 2010, and September 22, 2011 entitled, respectively, "Cecil, Pennsylvania, Police Officer Summarily Executes Family's Beloved Ten-Year-Old Persian, Elmo," "Acting Solely Upon the Lies of a Cat-Hater, Raymore Police Pump Two Shotgun Blasts into the Head of Nineteen-Year-Old Declawed and Deaf Tobey," "North Carolina State Trooper Who Illegally Trapped and Shot His Next-Door Neighbor's Cat, Rowdy, Is Now Crying for His Job Back," and "Neanderthaloid Politicians in Lebanon, Ohio, Wholeheartedly Sanction the Illegal and Cold-Blooded Murder of Haze by a Trigger-Happy Cop.")
"The time will come when men, such as I, will look upon the murder of animals as now they look upon the murder of men," Leonardo da Vinci boldly predicted five-hundred years ago. In hindsight, it now appears that he greatly overestimated the capacity of his fellow man to learn from his mistakes and to advance both morally and intellectually.
Although some progress has been made, shelters and Animal Control officers still kill cats and dogs en masse and with impunity. Even more outrageously, police officers, such as Snoddy and Metcalf, not only kill cats and dogs but are protected by prosecutors, judges, and juries whose job it is to see to it that the law is not only upheld but advances with the times as well. As a consequence, Leonardo's vision remains as elusive as ever.
In any halfway just society the elites would be held to a higher standard of moral and legal conduct than ordinary citizens. In the United States, however, they are not only the most egregious lawbreakers but the biggest freeloaders to boot.
They get away with their heinous crimes while the poor and powerless are locked up and left to rot in the various hellhole institutions that comprise the prison industrial complex. Likewise, they live practically forever on generous health insurance plans and their bloated salaries while those who foot the bill for their lavish lifestyles are barely able to scratch out a living before being consigned to early graves.
The mistreatment and exploitation of animals is by no means confined to the elites; on the contrary, the masses also appear to becoming more callous with each passing day. For instance, no one even bothered to come forward in order to claim the remains of the forever nameless cat that was bludgeoned to death by the monster Snoddy.
Consequently, its remains in all likelihood were incinerated. It did not receive a scintilla of humane treatment in life and the way things now stand it is destined to be denied justice throughout all of eternity.
Sadie's tenure on this earth likewise was all-too-brief and ended every bit as tragically. Perhaps if Ware is persistent and forceful enough the courts can be prevailed upon to make Metcalf pay for his despicable crime but even that is real long shot.