Unarmed Black men are killed by police officers all the time and are often acquitted. Meanwhile, there is at least one Black man who killed a police dog who is serving a 45-year prison sentence. His name is Kelontre D. Barefield, and he fatally shot a K-9 police dog after breaking into a local Fishers Foods store in Canton, Ohio.
Kelontre, who was then 22-years old, had the encounter with the 3-year old German shepherd and his partner Officer Ryan Davis who were responding to a burglary alarm early one morning. Kelontre reportedly shot and hit the dog three times, and even fired shots at the police officer. The police officer was not hit, but Kelontre was still sentenced to 45 years in prison after pleading guilty to the dog’s death and other separate burglary charges.
Naturally, this sparked major controversy in urban communities nationwide because thousands of unarmed Black men and women have been killed by the police and have gone unpunished, but when a police dog is killed by a Black man, he receives a harsh and unfair prison sentence. But this national outrage accomplished nothing.
Instead, another national outrage was sparked in support of police dogs. The dog’s death led to the creation of a bill that would impose an even harsher penalty for killing a police K9.
John D. Ferrero, the County Prosecutor, said his office was satisfied with the sentence and said that avoiding a trial meant that the victims (other police officers on the force) would no longer have to relive the trauma.