DeKalb County police in Georgia broke into the home of an Atlanta-area man erroneously – Monday night – and shot him and killed his dog.
Officers were responding to reports of a suspicious person, but officials say the caller didn’t give an address for the house where the figure was allegedly seen.
Instead, the caller described the location as a gray-and-brick home and three responding officers went to a house that matched the description.
Police say the officers went to the back of a home where they thought a burglary might be occurring and “once there at the rear of the residence, they noticed that the screen door was unlocked, and the back door was unlocked.”
The officers reportedly entered the home and announced themselves before, shortly after, gunfire was exchanged between the owner and the officers leaving a dog dead and the resident shot in the leg.
One of the officers was also shot in the leg who police say has lost a lot of blood and is in critical condition.
Police say details about how exactly the shooting transpired is under investigation and “a lot has yet to be determined as to what and when shots were fired, how the officer received injuries and how the homeowner received injuries.”
Police did admit however that the officers responded to the wrong address and say the Georgia Bureau of Investigation has launched an independent probe of the incident.
All three of the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, and though it is not uncommon for homeowners to be criminally charged in situations such as these, it does not appear that the resident has received such sanctions – And obviously, he shouldn’t.
Castle Doctrine is part of American common law derived from the English system. Under English law, a man’s home was his castle. In the home, under British rule and in present-day America, individual rights are supposed to be ‘nonnegotiable.’
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Payton v. New York, 445 U.S. 573, 585 (1980), that “the physical entry of the home is the chief evil against which the wording of the Fourth Amendment is directed.”
A recent successful castle doctrine defense occurred in March of this year, when a conviction of an Indiana man for battery on a law enforcement officer was overturned after the officer broke into his apartment without a warrant and arrested him.
It is unclear if the unidentified Georgia homeowner plans to pursue civil action against DeKalb County police.
GBI officials say their “early investigation indicates that the injured officer was likely shot accidentally by one of the other officers on the scene.”
Additionally, neighbors have described the wounded mans dog – a brindle boxer – as a large and playful animal that would run up to people, and added that it has never attacked others.