LETHBRIDGE - Just days after an online petition was initiated, calling for a Lethbridge Police officer to be fired over his actions Jan. 5, more than 33,000 people (at the time this article was posted) not only from Lethbridge, but province-wide, nationally and internationally, have signed the petition.
On Tuesday, Global News Lethbridge posted a video online, taken by a woman named Erica Pritchard. It shows a Lethbridge Police Officer in an unmarked truck, running over a deer that had been hit and injured Saturday, January 5. Over a nearly 15-minute time period, the officer's truck can be seen running over the deer half a dozen times as it cries out in pain. The officer ultimately parks on top of the animal and a short time later, drags it by its legs and leaves it by the side of the road.
Lethbridge Police Chief Rob Davis told Global in a videotaped interview that the way the deer was killed was not the way officers would normally dispatch an animal, but that it was up to the Alberta Serious Incident Response Team to determine if and whether there were any gaps in their training.
The video has sparked not only concern and condemnation, but outrage from citizens around the world. So much so, that ASIRT, which is now investigating the matter with the help of Fish and Wildlife Alberta and the SPCA, issued a lengthy statement pleading for patience while the investigation into the officer's conduct and actions is completed.
A protest calling for the unnamed officer involved to be fired as well, has also been organized. Laura Johnson, with "Calgary Ethical Vegans" is one of the organizers. She says they want to send a message to LPS.
"We want a totally peaceful protest. I have heard unfortunately, that the officer has received death threats. We don't condone anything like that at all. We want it to be a peaceful protest. We're going to have signs... we just want to kind of put pressure on the police to take this seriously and not to sweep it under the rug."
Other groups including the Delegates Against Inhumane Suffering-Y? (DAISY Foundation) and the Calgary Animal Rights Effort (CARE) will also be in attendance. Johnson says she was devastated when she watched the video.
"What I took issue with, was Lethbridge Police said something about this was his (the officer's) attempt to euthanize the animal. But euthanasia is supposed to be quick and painless. This was long and drawn out.... it was pretty devastating to watch."
Johnson says the groups will be notifying police ahead of the protest Sunday afternoon.
"We just want to make a statement, that this is wrong, and it has to be dealt with."
ASIRT's news release indicates that at the conclusion of its investigation, the agency will report publicly on the matter, including a review of the evidence and any determinations made.
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