Owner of dog shot by police rejects settlement, calls for policy change

Posted at 12:48 PM, Jul 29, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-30 01:05:44-04

SALT LAKE CITY --  The man whose dog was shot to death by a Salt Lake City police officer said he has rejected a generous settlement offer and instead wants the department to issue a public apology and adopt "non lethal policy change."

"SLCPD has offered a generous settlement as compensation for the loss of Geist. However, there has been no disciplinary action taken against Brett Olson (sic) or action regarding policy change and training. I believe this is an attempt to placate me and buy me off. I would rather a public apology and non lethal policy change than any amount of money," Sean Kendall said in a post on his "Justice for Geist" Facebook page.

Mayor Ralph Becker was asked how he thinks Burbank handled the situation.

"You know i think it's a tough situation. He's had a police officer who's obviously been involved in a tragic situation and as all of us do, respect that police officer and his history and it's a tough situation in terms of the dog being killed and I think he's trying to work through the process to come to a good resolution and I support him in that and I'm confident we'll come up with a good approach as a city," Becker said.

Kendall's 2-year-old Weimeraner "Geist" was killed on June 18 as officers were looking for a missing toddler.

Officer Brett Olsen entered Kendall's yard that day in an attempt to locate the child. Olsen said he shot Geist because the dog was charging at him and he felt threatened.

Kendall told FOX 13 he would have accepted the settlement offer if there had been something in writing indicating that SLCPD would change their policies and training procedures regarding police encounters with dogs.

Kendall also said he was offended with the way Chief Chris Burbank handled the aftermath of the shooting, calling a subsequent press conference Burbank held "demeaning and aggressive."

The exact amount of the settlement offer was not disclosed.

Burbank released the following statement:

“As a public agency negotiating in good faith through proper channels, we were disappointed in today’s outcome. Due to Mr. Kendall’s premature Facebook posts and desire to negotiate through the press, the police department has ended our attempts to meet his financial demands. To clarify, this was his request for a settlement, not our offer. We continue to press ahead with our internal process and expect to conclude our investigation this week. The department reserves further comment until that time.”

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