A reader writes:

If you’re looking for another gut wrenching example, read this story from Omaha.  My wife represents the young man they were looking for.  Without  disclosing confidential information, this kid was absolutely not a threat to anyone.  Nor was the family dog.  You had a suburban cop in the tough part of the big city to serve a warrant to look for property that was the product of a burglary.  The case is ongoing but it will almost certainly die with a whimper.  

Just an absolutely silly and tragic Bildeexample of what has become a clear and unmistakable policy for police in these parts:  “When you enter a residence to serve a warrant, you shoot the dog first, so as not to have to deal with it.”  It carries with it the disgusting added benefit of shocking the owner/suspect and probably putting them in a very emotional state when you begin your interrogation.  They’re not going to be thinking about invoking constitutional rights when they’re watching their best and often only friend and family member bleed out.  Think of Odin’s owner and how he would have reacted had his rehab rock been shot before his eyes.  The last thing he’d pay attention to was his Miranda warning and his right to remain silent, and to consult with an attorney.

It’s a disgusting turn that, make no mistake, is a tactic.  And it’s spreading beyond the drug war to become standard policy when serving warrants.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.