Earlier this week, we wrote about an alleged hit and run of a dog by a San Francisco Police Department (SFPD) squad car that took place on Saturday, February 15 at the intersection of Balboa and 6th Avenue.
Three eyewitnesses came forward to speak with us about the incident, and confirmed that the dog, a small Chihuahua, was struck and killed by a SFPD police car.
The 8 year old dog was being cared for by Casey Massam, a friend of the owner. He brought the dog around 1pm, on leash, to Cinderella Bakery, where he tied it up outside while he went in to order.
Erin Steffen was having brunch with a friend at the bakery and recalled their arrival. “The dog was cute and caught all of our attention.”
A few minutes later, the dog wiggled out of its collar and began running back towards the intersection of 6th Avenue and Balboa. Erin ran into the bakery to alert Casey while another couple got up and tried to catch the dog.
When the dog reached the northeast corner of the intersection, it darted into the street and was run over by a SFPD vehicle that was turning right onto 6th Avenue from Balboa.
“It was a police car and the driver did not stop,” Erin said. She said that the police car did not appear to be responding to an emergency call. “There were no lights or sirens.”
Just before the dog was hit and the police car turned onto 6th Avenue, the dog’s guardian came out of Cinderella Bakery.
“It was disturbing that the officer didn’t stop,” Casey said. It was likely that the SFPD vehicle was headed back to the station house, just one block further down on 6th Avenue.
Shocked at what happened, none of the witnesses were able to take note of the vehicle’s ID or chase after it.
“We all kind of froze when we saw the dog get hit,” Erin said. “It was a police car but I could not see who was in it or get any number on the car.”
A third eyewitness, who asked to not be named, went to the Richmond District Police Station soon after and filed a report, providing contact information for Casey as well as Erin. Casey received a call later that day from an officer who took his statement over the phone.
When we spoke on Tuesday with Officer Albie Esparza, Public Information Officer for the SFPD about the incident, he indicated that aside from the initial eyewitness report that was filed, no other witnesses had come forward.
But as of Saturday evening, both an eyewitness and Casey had provided statements to the station about the hit and run. As of Wednesday afternoon, Erin had not been contacted by the SFPD even though her information was included in the first report filed.
Despite these eyewitnesses coming forward, Officer Esparza wrote in an email to us, “If anyone has any information/witnessed or have video surveillance of this, they are asked to contact Richmond Police Station.”
A confusing request considering by Tuesday morning they already had a report from an eyewitness, additional details from Casey’s statement via phone, and had also received a visit from the dog’s owner who filed her own report at the Richmond station in the wee hours of Monday morning.
During that visit, the station’s desk clerk told the dog’s owner that no report had been filed and that they were unfamiliar with the incident, despite a report being filed 36 hours earlier for which Casey had received a case number.
Casey was still very distraught about the incident when we spoke to him on Wednesday, and says the dog’s owner is “taking this really hard, the dog meant everything to her.”
Despite the disturbing hit and run behavior of the officer(s) involved, Casey said “it’s tough to really place blame and be angry for what happened. They may not have noticed that they hit anything.”
“There is room to consider that the cop had no idea what he/she did, but it is hard to believe,” Erin said. “Around four people were near the intersection at the time of the incident trying to catch the dog and then immediately in the road after.”
A makeshift memorial was placed for the dog on a pole at the intersection of 6th Avenue and Balboa over the weekend. A handmade sign with the flowers read “Police SFPD Please Slow Down!!! Don’t Kill Another Puppy”.
“It was like a scene out of a movie. The timing of it all couldn’t have been more tragic,” Erin said.
10:00 am | Posted under Crime
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