Dogs are dogs, but sometimes dogs are seen as “heroes”; at other times they are seen as a “threat.” And sometimes police officers are seen as “heroes” …and sometimes in today’s environment, they are also seen as a “threat” to some people, especially to many “of color.” An incident on Saturday night at the Chevron Gas Station at the north end of Bishop off US Highway 395 is a case in point. It has sparked strong opinions on local social media with charges of police abuse, animal cruelty, and racism…and in a few instances, strong support for the police.
Barlow is hospitalized and on life-support according to reports
A dog, a pit bull breed, was shot dead by one of the two arresting Inyo County Sheriff deputies while they were attempting to take 32-year-old George Barlow III into custody. There seems to be some confusion as to the dogs ownership. Regardless of who owned the dog, deputies say Barlow charged them along with the pit bull with him after he was seen standing in the otherwise empty parking lot of the gas station.
At least two videos were taken of the incident by eyewitnesses and posted on local social media. You can hear bystanders shouting at officers to stop what they were doing to Barlow and for them to pull off a K9 police dog attacking him as he lay on the ground.
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A GoFundMe campaign has been started for the Barlow family to help pay for expenses. As of 3:30 pm this afternoon of July 26, a total of $18,630 has been raised.
Police seemingly beating a man senseless is never a good look and the videos posted on local social media do little to dispel that view. The killing of the dog fueled additional outrage. At last report, Barlow is in very serious condition at the hospital.
The deputies, says the Sheriff’s Office press release, were dispatched on a call about a domestic violence restraining order violation on the Bishop Reservation that had nothing at all to do with Barlow. “While looking in the area” they found nothing on the original call and happened upon Barlow with a dog standing in the empty parking lot of the closed gas station. (For the Sheriff’s perspective on what happened, please read the posted press release on our website.) Eyewitness reports differ from those in the official press release from the Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff Jeff Hollowell and Public Relations Officer for the Inyo County Sheriff Office, Carma Roper, responded promptly to Sierra Wave’s inquiry for a statement when called earlier in the day about the incident. They followed up by that evening with a press release.
Sierra Wave is in the process of contacting witnesses for comments and for permissions to use their names and the videos taken by them. Meantime, the videos of the incident caught on camera can be seen posted on local social media. The videos have garnered hundreds of comments, mostly negative, even hostile towards the deputies. We are working on posting a direct link to the videos.
There will be an investigation and also involvement by the District Attorney’s Office. Sierra Wave will attempt to keep you apprised of developments in the case.
If anyone has any information on this incident, please call the Sheriff’s Office.
Needless to say, Sierra Wave would also like to hear from you as well.