CT Legal Guide 2001 -2003 Archived Content
From 2001 -20003 the CT Legal Guide offered information about Connecticut ATTORNEYS | BAIL BONDS | COURTS | COURT FORMS | LEGAL RESOURCES | STATE FEDERAL AGENCIES to its visitors.
They also had a moving tribute to a canine search & rescue dog, Git Ander after he was tragically killed by two police officers.
Content is from the site's 2001 -2003 archived pages.
Canine Search & Rescue Tribute
Over 250 canine search and rescue dogs worked around the clock at the World Trade Center and the Pentagon after the September 11th terrorist attacks. These heroes worked without the benefit of gas masks and protective clothing. They climbed and searched places considered to dangerous for humans. This photo tribute is in their honor in recognition of their bravery and heroic efforts.
Special recognition is given to search and rescue dog,
Git Ander who was gunned down upon his return from Ground Zero.
Git Ander: World Trade Center Hero Needlessly and Recklessly Killed In the line of duty
After searching for survivors in the rubble of the World Trade Center, Git Ander, a seven-year-old German Shepherd returned to duty as a police canine in Plainfield, New Jersey. Git Ander was a member of the Union County Sheriff’s Department K-9 Unit.
According to an Associated Press report, on the night of September 26, 2001, Git Ander and his handler, Sergeant John Gillespie,arrived at the scene of a reported stolen car. The suspects fled on foot. Sergeant Gillespie pursued the eighteen-year-old driver while Git Ander was ordered to chase after and apprehend the other passenger who was a twelve-year-old girl.
Git Ander apprehended the passenger. Following the procedure the dog was trained to, he held onto the suspect by holding onto her leg. The dog had been trained not to release his hold on the suspect until his handler arrived on the scene and commanded him to do so.
Minutes before his handler showed up, two other police officers arrived on the scene. Despite the fact that Git Ander wore a police badge on his collar, Officers Ronald Fusco and Craig Montgomery fatally shot the dog eleven times. Sgt. Gillespie arrived just as his dog was dying.
Officers Ronald Fusco and Craig Montgomery later alleged that they thought the dog was a stray.
Sherriff Froehlich of the Union County Sheriff's Department explained that the dog had been trained not to separate from the suspect until a command from his handler was given. Even in the face of repeated gunfire, the dog faithfully followed his handler’s commands. "Unfortunately, Git gave his life doing what he was supposed to," said Sheriff Froehlich. He added that, "He was our most popular dog because he was so easy to deal with. "The kids loved him because he was this big hairy thing they could throw their arms around and hug."
The well-known Union County Sheriff's Department K-9 Unit has been highly commended and is well recognized. Git Ander and other canines from the unit arrived at the World Trade Center two hours after the attack on September 11, 2001.
The heroism of Git Ander has gone unrecognized. Officers Ronald Fusco and Craig Montgomery looked at him as a stray and shot him to death while the dog was conducting official police duty.
Git Ander, a heroic canine police officer was gunned down for following orders. He deserved respect from his fellow officers. Eleven shots within minutes is an uncalled for act of excessive, deadly force...even if the victim hadn't been a hero and was just a stray.
The unharmed twelve-year-old suspect was later arrested. No charges had been filed against the two officers who shot Git Ander to death.
Edward Santiago, Chief of Police of the Town of Plainfield, declined to comment on the two officers' actions.
Governor James E. McGreevey
Senator John Lynch
Assemblyman Jerry Green
Chief of Police, Town of Plainfield
Mayor of Plainfield
Director of Public Safety, Plainfield
The matter had also been referred to Union County Prosecutor Thomas V. Manahan due to the police use of deadly force. Prosecutor Manahan is located at:
Offices of the Prosecutor of Union County
32 Rahway Avenue,
Elizabeth, New Jersey 07202
The main telephone number is (908) 527-4500
Fax: (908) 289-1267
Email Prosecutor Thomas V. Manahan
Despite clear and convincing evidence, Union County prosecutor Thomas V. Manahan did not file any charges whatsoever against Plainfield Officers Montgomery and Fusco who recklessly and needlessly shot to death Git Ander. Despite the attempts of the police and prosecutor’s office to withhold from the public a police videotape which showed the incident, News 12 New Jersey obtained a copy of it and extensively analyzed it. What was revealed on the videotape was even more shocking than previous reports of the shooting. New 12 New Jersey reported that Officers Montgomery and Fusco fired a total of eighteen shots at Git Ander at point blank range. The eighteen consecutive shots can be clearly heard on the videotape. In addition to Git Ander wearing his police badge, the Union County Canine Police Van which was clearly marked and visible was parked less than ten feet away from the spot where the officers gunned down Git Ander.
Within seconds of the shooting, Sgt. John Gillespie arrived on the scene and attempted to talk to Officer Montgomery when he saw Git Ander on the ground dying. The videotape clearly showed Officer Montgomery lashing out and forcibly and physically knocking Sgt. John Gillespie down to the ground.
The videotape is heart wrenching to watch. The videotape says it all. Officers Montgomery and Fusco shot nonstop at point blank range eighteen times at Git Ander and then Officer Montgomery turned his rage on the dog’s handler.
Even before the investigation had been concluded, prosecutor Manahan publicly defended these officers. Union County prosecutor Manahan closed the case and stated that the Plainfield police officers were justified in shooting Git Ander, and he blamed Sgt. Gillespie for losing sight of his dog. Plainfield Public Safety Director, Michael Lattimore, told News 12 New Jersey that he was pleased that his officers had been exonerated, and Plainfield police chief Edward Santiago supported his officers' shooting of Git Ander.
It is an outrage that Union County prosecutor did not file charges against these officers. It is equally appalling that Plainfield police chief Edward Santiago and Public Safety Director Michael Lattimore condone their officers' conduct.
Let all of these public officials know that you are outraged and demand justice.
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