A Colorado man was awarded a $262,500 settlement by a court after his companion animal, a three-year-old Labrador/pit bull mix named Chloe, was shot and killed by police officers in 2012. Gary Branson brought the civil case against three officers with the Commerce City Police Department involved in Chloe’s shooting death after they were cleared of wrongdoing in a previous criminal trial. Video of the incident taken by neighbors quickly went viral, showing what appeared to be excessive force used by the officers, who were responding to a report of a “loose, vicious dog.” A majority of the six–minute video shows officers in a relatively calm standoff with the dog, approaching with an animal control catch pole before eventually shocking Chloe, who stumbled out of view and into the garage. Moments later, the stunned dog charges out of the garage and away from the officers before one raises his gun and shoots her five times. Branson was out of town at the time of the incident. The $262,500 settlement is one of the largest of its kind, according to The Animal Law Center, and comes at a time when police brutality against dogs—and in general—is finding itself at the center of heated debate among angry citizens. Branson credits Chloe for helping him recover after major heart surgery in 2010. “She motivated me,” Branson told The Denver Post. “She was always there to perk me up, whether it was by licking my toes or begging for a bone. She just brightened my day, every day.”
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