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Roommates claim police broke into their home and shot dog for no reason

A group of roommates in Maryland are suing their county after police officers allegedly burst into their home without cause, detained them, and then shot their dog.

The roommates are suing Prince George's County and are seeking at least $16m in damages, according to CBS News.

On 2 June, 2021, officers in Prince George's County responded to a report that a dog had bitten someone at the apartment complex where the plaintiffs lived.

Body camera footage shows the police officers arriving at the plaintiffs' apartment complex and knocked on the plaintiffs' door. No one answered, so the police obtained a master key from a maintenance worker at the property and returned to the apartment.

The officers entered the apartment with their guns drawn. Two of the house mates were in their rooms when the police burst into the unit. One individual can be heard yelling that the police have no right to be in their living space. The police said they did not need a warrant to enter as they had "probable cause."

The dog living at the apartment reportedly followed an officer out of one of the bedrooms and approached its owner, Erica Umana. The police allegedly panicked, according to the lawsuit, after which they fired their weapons at the dog.

Ms Umana told the Washington Post in 2021 that she pleaded with them to help her wounded and dying pet, but she claims they showed no concern.

"I was just begging them, begging them," she said. "They just had no remorse."

Four Maryland roomates are suing police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, after they allegedly shot and killed their dog (The Washington Post)
Four Maryland roomates are suing police in Prince George’s County, Maryland, after they allegedly shot and killed their dog (The Washington Post)

The police then handcuffed the roommates and placed them into their cruisers for approximately an hour before releasing them from custody.

The roommates originally sought criminal charges against the police, but the Maryland state attorney's office chose not to prosecute the case, claiming the officers "didn't generate criminal liability because they were acting in good faith," according to the Washington Post.

Prince George's County officials allegedly offered to pay for Ms Umana's vet bills if she would stay quiet about the incident, but she refused, according to the lawsuit.

Three of the officers involved were placed on administrative leave after the shooting, and a department investigator accused two of them of "conduct unbecoming an officer" for entering a home without a warrant. A third officer was cleared of any wrongdoing.

The Independent has reached out to the Prince George’s County Police Department for comment.

The plaintiffs' lawsuit accuses the police of engaging in excessive force, false arrest, and violation of their constitutional rights against unreasonable searches and seizures.