Body camera has been released by Sedgwick County District Attorney Marc Bennett showing a police officer shooting a small dog, but also hitting a 9-year-old girl who the dog seemed to be trying to protect as he stood his ground and barked.
Officer Dexter Betts was fired in January, after the December 30 incident that left the little girl shot in the face for doing nothing other than sitting behind her pet on the living room floor at her home. There were also 3 other children in the room when the officer opened fire, reported The Wichita Eagle.
Bullet fragments ricocheted off the floor and hit the girl just above her eye.
Even though the video shows the dog, a 35- to 40-pound English bull terrier named Chevy, seemed to be standing to protect the girl from the officer, Betts defense attorney claimed the dog was attacking the officer.
The video shows Betts and another officer entering the house with flashlights and checking the area.
“Ok, we got a dog inside here, too,” Betts says on the video. He then shouts, “Whoa! Whoa!” as Chevy stands between Betts and the little girl. When the dog barks, Betts shoots twice at the animal.
The girl immediately screams, “Ow! Ow! Ow, you hurt my eye! Ow! Ow!”
Betts then orders the children to get out.
Someone asks Betts over the radio about what happened and Betts lied. He reported that a dog attacked the officers, even though video shows that did not happen. He also failed to immediately report that he shot a little girl in the face.
The city of Wichita refused previous requests to release the video because they were not required to do so by law. According to The Eagle, it is very rare for Wichita police to release body camera video, but Bennett agreed to release it in response to a request by The Eagle after parts of it were shown in court because evidence presented in open court becomes part of the public record even if it hasn’t been released before.
At his preliminary hearing, Betts pleaded not guilty on a charge of felony aggravated battery related to the girl’s injury.
The Eagle reported this is the fist time in 2 decades that a Wichita police officer is facing criminal charges for an on-duty shooting that resulted in an injury or death.
Police originally went to the girl’s home after her mother called 911 saying her husband was suicidal and had put a gun in his mouth. He was unarmed and standing in the driveway with his hands up when Betts and another officer arrived, but the officers decided to go inside anyway.
Watch the video below via The Wichita Eagle: