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Lincoln couple grapples with police shooting of dog after city denies tort claim | Crime and Courts

Jamie Mohr’s front door was blank — plain white — when two Lincoln Police officers rang her doorbell around 8 pm June 14, minutes before one of them would fire two rounds from his service pistol into the woman’s American bulldog, Diva.

The scene at 1340 Manatt St. has changed in the month-and-a-half since then.







Jamie Mohr and Matthew Hutchinson stand outside of Mohr’s home where her previous dog, Diva, was shot by Lincoln Police in June.


NOAH RIFFE, Journal Star


Mohr’s yard is devoid of the dog toys that once littered it. Her boyfriend of hers, Matthew Hutchinson, has since moved out of the residence, their relationship splintered by the stress that night has brought.

And the front door, now, is equipped with a stickered decal displaying an outline of the dog’s face above three words: “Justice for Diva.”

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“That’s all I want,” Mohr told the Journal Star this week, two days after the city denied her $3,575 tort claim stemming from the shooting which paralyzed Diva. The bulldog was euthanized at an emergency veterinary clinic hours after the incident.

The events of June 14 unfolded quickly. The two officers knocked on Mohr’s door at 7:48 that night, and immediately, Diva began barking, according to a doorbell video reviewed by the Journal Star.

Mohr opened the door 29 seconds after officers initially knocked, exchanging greetings with the officers, who had come to the house to perform a compliance check on Hutchinson, a drug court participant who is now nine months sober.

“OK,” Mohr told the officers, before turning back to call for Hutchinson.

“Matt,” she said. “Drug court check.”

“Hey man,” one of the officers said, just as Diva raced down the steps and charged toward the officer, who tripped and drew his Taser as he backpedaled away from the dog.

Then, Diva looped around the officer who had failed and began to charge his partner, who had already drawn his gun.

He fired twice and fell backward. Diva collapsed. Mohr frozen. Hutchinson charged toward the officer who had fired his weapon, shouting expletives. The second officer intervened and began to de-escalate the situation.

It had been 52 seconds since the officers knocked on the door. Now a sergeant was on the way, and the residents of the single-story home in Lincoln’s Belmont neighborhood soon rushed the dog to the vet. Diva would not survive the night.

“It’s probably one of the most traumatic things I’ve been through in my life,” said Mohr, 38. “Like, I watched my dog ​​get shot in front of me.”

Diva was previously deemed “potentially dangerous” after she bit a city resident in an unprovoked incident in December 2019, according to Steve Beal, the city’s Animal Control manager.

Mohr disputes that characterization and took issue with the police department’s description of the dog to the media after the incident.

“I had her an AA function with 150 people, not on a chain,” Mohr said. “Kids, dogs, puppies, grown adults, food. Ella She did n’t do a thing.







Diva - Bulldog shot by Lincoln Police

Diva, an American bulldog, was shot by a Lincoln police officer conducting a drug court check at a Lincoln home in June.


courtesy photo


“She was protective of me, but she was not mean, by any means.”

In the video of the encounter, Diva can be heard growling as she charged the first officer.

In its news release announcing the shooting, the police department said it would investigate whether the officers followed LPD’s training procedures for encounters with aggressive dogs.

Lincoln Police Investigator Scott Parker said Friday the department had completed its investigation and found the officers did not violate any policies.

It was the police who shot Diva, but Mohr said she’s the one who continues to pay.

She and Hutchinson paid for the dog’s cremation, though the vet held Diva’s ashes until the $726 medical bill stemming from the shooting was paid in full on Wednesday.







Diva - Bulldog shot by Lincoln Police

Diva, an American bulldog, was shot by a Lincoln police officer conducting a drug court check at a Lincoln home in June.


courtesy photo


Mohr paid $350 for a new dog, a pit bull puppy named Sookie, to fill the void left in her house on Manatt Street.

And the couple has suffered other losses. Hutchinson moved out shortly after the incident, which they both attribute to the stress brought on by the shooting.

“It’s been hard,” Hutchinson said.

“It’s been really hard,” Mohr said.

After the shooting, the two held a vigil and barbecue in Diva’s honor, commissioning “Justice for Diva” T-shirts and decals like the one that adorns Mohr’s front door.

They wore the shirts to Lincoln’s City Council chambers on Monday, where Mohr tearfully asked city officials to reimburse them for the medical bills, the replacement dog and $2,500 for Diva’s original cost. (Mohr says she got the dog from a breeder).

“I understand that Diva didn’t do anything wrong, and the officers may have not done anything wrong either, but they took my dog ​​from me,” Mohr told the City Council, advocating for her reimbursement.

The city denied the claim, so that night, Mohr turned instead to the community, launching a GoFundMe page to bring her dog’s remains home. She raised the necessary funds — $726 — in 19 hours.

“It’s just nice to know that there’s good people who actually care about people who are going through something that the city won’t help them with,” Hutchinson said.

The fundraising effort was buoyed by a single anonymous donor who gave $500. The donor’s name is shielded from public view but was provided to Mohr, the organizer, who searched the donor’s name on Google.

He works for Lincoln Police.

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Reach the writer at 402-473-7223 or awegley@journalstar.com.

On Twitter @andrewwegley

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