- Texas, USA -
Former Dallas police officer, 27-years-old JESSE CALHOUN COATES, accused of killing a kitten, was charged with animal cruelty, a third-degree felony.
COATES was fired on September 21.
The Dallas Morning News reports that at about 12:45 a.m. on August 20, COATES and two other officers were dispatched to the 9900 block of Bluffcreek Drive, near North Masters Drive and Bruton Road in Pleasant Grove about a domestic disturbance.
The officers found a female 1-month-old kitten lying on the sidewalk near the home.
Body-camera footage captured the incident but police have not released the video to the public.
The Dallas Morning News reports that the affidavit said the footage shows an officer pointing a flashlight at the kitten who appeared to be suffering. The officer then asked a resident at the home what happened. Reportedly, the resident acknowledging the kitten was suffering and said her dog had got out.
According to the affidavit, COATES then took a clear plastic bag from his squad car and asked the resident whether she consented to him “putting down” the kitten since she appeared to be “dead, dying, in distress.” The resident pointed to another officer and gave “consent to her.”
When COATES asked a second time, the resident declined. At that point COATES said: “Well, to put her out of her misery?” The resident gave her approval, went inside the home, and closed the front door.
COATES then said: “Ah [expletive] it”, placed the kitten in the plastic bag, and used both hands to squeeze and twist the kitten’s tiny neck for about three minutes, at one point saying an expletive, the affidavit said. After he was done, he let go of his grip and threw the kitten away.
Before COATES killed the defenseless kitten, one of the other two officers said she couldn’t watch and walked away.
As reported by New York Post, the affidavit said that on August 28, a police sergeant received a report of the incident and police officials reviewed the body-camera footage.
A detective determined COATES’ actions were “cruel in manner” because of the way he handled the kitten and the length of time it took and COATES was placed on administrative leave that same day.
New York Post further reports that a veterinary expert said the resident and COATES “treated the kitten cruelly by not seeking outside care.” The vet, who had reviewed the footage, also told investigators he thought the kitten had internal bleeding because she wasn’t moving.
COATES admitted to investigators to snapping the kitten’s neck to make sure she died and told them he didn’t contact animal control officials because of the resident’s consent.
On Thursday, September 30, COATES appeared in state District Judge Brandon Birmingham’s court. He faces a third-degree felony and his bail was set at $15,000, which he posted.
COATES was also directed not to have any unsupervised contact with domesticated animals.
COATES’s attorney, Joey Mongaras, said in a statement to the Dallas Morning News that the warrant for his client shows the Dallas PD’s “overcorrection following actual, egregious officer scandals.”
The statement, published by The Dallas Express, reads: “ Mr. Coates ended a mauled, dying cat’s suffering with its owner’s consent, and he did so transparently while his body camera recorded. He was placed in an impossible situation, and he made the most humane decision for the animal under those circumstances. We can’t wait for our day in court.”
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