SLO pays $70,000 after officer shoots and kills family pet

November 12, 2020

Riley Manford and Bubbers

By KAREN VELIE

The city of San Luis Obispo agreed to settle a claim from a couple who alleged a police officer shot and killed their dog without provocation. The city agreed to pay a $70,000 settlement while refusing to publicly release video footage of the shooting.

James McKiernan, the attorney for Riley Manford and Nick Regalia, said it is unusual to get more than market value for the death of a pet in California. In this case, the city agreed to a settlement without a lawsuit being filed.

In Sept. 2019, officer Josh Walsh shot and killed “Bubbers” while responding to a possible burglary.

Even though Walsh and another officer quickly determined the burglary report was inaccurate, just a resident fixing a broken window, Walsh appeared frightened of the resident’s dog.

Walsh ordered Riley Manford to control her “fucking dog,” Manford said. “I told him he was a friendly dog and asked him to put his gun down so I could get Bubbers.”

Before Manford could reach her dog, Walsh fired three shots at Bubbers. Two shots struck the dog and one bounced off the concrete.

While he was removed from duty during an investigation into the shooting, he was later placed back on the street.

The SLO Police Department later reported that the dog had charged Officer Walsh, who drew his weapon and fired to protect himself. However, the video, which attorney McKiernan was permitted to view, appears to show the dog approaching the officers in a social manner, McKiernan said.

Bubbas owners, Manford and Regalia, wanted the public to know the truth, but the department fought several legal attempts to publicly release officer body camera videos of the shooting.

In January, Manford and Regalia helped organize a march for justice and transparency in San Luis Obispo County. Manford and Regalia want all video recordings of interactions with citizens to be public in support of justice and public safety.


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LameCommenter

Walsh may be an idiot and/or liability, but this settlement was a taxpayer win because at seventy grand, it was likely way BELOW the award a local animal rights slanted jury would hand over.


ratherbefishing

What is the running tally that Josh Walsh is costing the taxpayers?


kevin rise

Thin blue line. A settlement to keep public record concealed? That’s like hiding a dispatch log? Wtf is this? FOIA?, they can legally hide this?


ByteMaker

The city of SLO did not pay this settlement. Taxpayers did!


Ricky2

Insurance paid it.


Rouse

Really NO it was under the Deductible, plus the tax payers pay for the Insurance too.


ByteMaker

Where’s the “non-lethal” approach. He has a taser and expandable baton and pepper spray but the first reaction is to draw a weapon. I am totally not for “defund the police” but with this behavior, it is hard to have a mature debate as to its pros and cons.


Buchon

For what it’s worth, tasers, law enforcement batons and pepper spray are also “weapons.”


kayaknut

The line “The city agreed to pay a $70,000 settlement” is incorrect, it should say “The city agreed to have the taxpaying residents pay a $70,000 settlement, while those guilty get away with it”.


Zoiebowie

I’d let them shoot my dog for 70 grand.


mytwopointfivesense

How much “transparency” do body cams really offer if the department can successfully fight to release any unbecoming footage of their officer’s behavior?


slo-to-load

Agreed. I would love to hear the department’s reasoning to not release this video when they release plenty of other bodycam videos on a regular basis.


sbjcl

The $70,000 should come out Walsh’s pocket. Not only is he a coward, he is also a liar and the video proves it.


slocorruptionhater

“The $70,000 should come out Walsh’s pocket”…I second that.