What Did You Expect?: Cop dogs can’t be trusted either

The only thing shocking about this story and lawsuit is that it didn’t happen before.  Likely because cops cover up for each other, they hide and destroy evidence.

Also not shocking is that it took a white man filing suit for this to be taken seriously.  How many people, especially Black people, were railroaded into false convictions, their property stolen (not “seized”) by cops?  From NPR:

Courts have long seen K-9 dogs as impartial. Now police bodycams hold them accountable

For decades, American courts have had to take it on faith that drug-sniffing dogs were impartial. Testimony by a dog’s handler, along with training records and credentialing by a local K-9 organization, were usually enough. But the recent spread of body cameras now threatens to upend that faith.

A newly filed federal lawsuit in Texas shows cameras’ potential to undermine K-9 unit legitimacy. Houston resident Alek Schott accuses Bexar County Sheriff’s deputy Joel Babb of pulling him over on Interstate 35 on false pretenses, and then, when he refused to give permission to search his pickup truck, he says K-9 unit deputy Martin A. Molina III prompted his dog to “alert” to the scent of drugs.

Historically, that claim would have been nearly impossible to prove. But in this case, Schott requested and received the officers’ body camera footage, giving him almost the same view the K-9 handler had — including the moment the handler’s right hand made a gesture toward the attentive dog, which then jumped up on the pickup’s door.

“It’s clear to me that he’s telling the dog to alert,” Schott says. “I thought, ‘These guys are trying to destroy my life.’ “

This suit should bring into question EVERY prosecution based on “dogs reacting”.  How many were cases of dogs coached or commanded to react?


  1. Bruce says

    We all know the story of “Clever Hans”, the horse who would stamp down to “count” until he got to the right number. People eventually realized that even if Hans’s owner was honest, that the horse could still read his body language and know when the owner was satisfied.
    That means even innocent K9 handlers could have triggered several false alerts.
    And given the established prior probability that all cops are liars, these dog signals approach meaninglessness. Our ancestors solved crime by reading a sacrificial goat’s entrails/guts.
    I had hoped we had progressed. But now the case is less clear.