Court Cases I WCTV Eyewitness News: Tallahassee, Thomasville, Valdosta

Man Settles Suit with Tallahassee Police Over Dog Shooting


A man who sued Tallahassee Police after an officer shot and killed his dog has settled his case.

It all started at about four in the morning in July, 2009.

Tallahassee Police Officers Joseph Azevedo and Mark Adrick arrived at a home in the 1400 block of Charlotte Avenue.

The officers were there because Kyle Marshall's live in girlfriend for two years claimed he was going to harm her black lab Dutch and wouldn't return it.

Marshall says it's not true and fallout from a fight.

The officers claim Marshall ordered his dog Smitty to attack them.

Officer Azevedo fatally shot Smitty.

"The officers maintain that the dog attacked them and they were justified in using the force they used," said Cassandra Jackson, a spokeswoman for the Tallahassee City Attorney.

"In no way was Smitty aggressive," said Marshall. "In no way did he look aggressive," he said. "This was basically the officers not manning up to a mistake they made and covering themselves to keep their jobs," Marshall said.

While Marshall admits he was rude to the officers and told them to leave his property multiple times, he says he feared for his own life after Officer Azevedo shot Smitty.

He says he tried to close the door and get away, but the officers entered his home and Acevedo shot Marshall twice with a taser.

"They shot my dog right on my front porch and then came into my house," said Marshall. "What rights do you have if you can't stay in your own house," he said.

"It was determined their actions were completely justified because they were in fear for their own safety," said Jackson.

Marshall was arrested and charged with two counts of aggravated assault on a law enforcement officer, resisting an officer without violence and petit theft of the dog.

He faced up to 30 years in prison.

However, the state attorney dropped all the charges, noting "the dog in this case does not meet the definition of a deadly weapon".

Marshall then sued.

Instead of going to trial, the city settled out of court with Marshall for $25,000.

"There was some concern perhaps the sympathy factor because of the dog," said Jackson explaining the decision to settle.

While Marshall has received the $25,000 settlement, he says his legal bills were more than $40,000.

And he said he sat in jail for two weeks.

He says he was offered a plea deal for three years in prison he's glad he didn't take.

"It's real serious," said Marshall. "It would've changed my entire life," he said. "I'd still be in jail right now," Marshall said.

Instead Marshall left Tallahassee to get a fresh start in California.

As for Officers Azevedo and Adrick, a Tallahassee Police Department internal affairs investigation cleared them both of any wrongdoing.


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