On February 11, Columbia Police SWAT officers entered Jonathan Whitworth's home with a search warrant. The warrant, which was eight days old, was issued on suspicion that he was dealing a significant amount of marijuana. However, officers found only a small amount of marijuana and some paraphernalia.
Whitworth's wife and 7-year-old were home during the raid. Officers shot Whitworth's pit bull and Welsh corgi in the paw after the pit bull became aggressive, police Chief Ken Burton said, adding that shooting the corgi was an accident. The pit bull died from the gunshot.
A video of the raid has stirred outrage across the nation. In an earlier Missourian report, Burton said that the department is getting threats from all over the world. He also said the department does not have guidelines for how to deal with dogs, but that Tasers are generally ineffective.
Burton said one mistake the police made was not acting on the warrant right away.
"I don’t think we should have run it eight days later," Burton said. "We should have run it that day. We simply didn’t do it. So we own that, and we’re very sorry it turned out the way it did. None of those officers wanted to hurt that dog — or any dog, as a matter of fact — but it was an unfortunate situation.”
Burton explained that the SWAT team consists of part-time members who hold other jobs within the department rather than owe their sole responsibility to a SWAT team.
Should the Columbia Police Department find the money to hire a full-time SWAT force? Does Columbia need a SWAT force at all?