Police Killed Black Man From Detroit and (Possibly) a Police Dog. Which One Do You Think Received More Sympathy?

Illustration for article titled Police Killed Black Man From Detroit and (Possibly) a Police Dog. Which One Do You Think Received More Sympathy?
Screenshot: Detroit Free Press

A Detroit man was shot and killed by police outside the St. Clair Shores venue where his baby shower was being held.


According to the Detroit Free Press, 29-year-old Theoddeus Gray was shot multiple times by police after Gray fired one shot with a pistol, which then jammed, according to the officers’ version of events. During the altercation, a K-9 dog was shot. It’s unclear whose bullet hit the dog. Gray was shot six times.

Apparently, someone called the police after reports of a man holding a rifle, which Gray’s family has since said Gray brought to the shower after receiving death threats. Police have said they found the rifle near the banquet hall, where 70 people had gathered for the shower. Police have released edited clips of surveillance footage from that night, including the initial call with the dispatcher, seemingly placed by the hall’s owner or an employee. Further footage shows a man who is presumably Gray walking off-camera before officers chase after him. Another clip shows a police dog running.

That’s it—nothing to really confirm anything the police said happened.

Gray’s family has sought out the services of an independent medical examiner. Given how little is confirmed by the footage that is available, that doesn’t seem like a bad idea, at all.

The officers present have been cleared following a probe by the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

Officers originally said Gray shot the dog, then walked back that claim and said it was possible one of their own shot the dog. I’m always skeptical of an officer who tells one story and then tries to switch it up. There are no details yet available about where or with what the dog was shot.


There are a lot of missing pieces here, and I hope they get cleared up. Since then, police and community members have held a funeral for the dog, and community members and Gray’s family were—rightfully, I think—upset at the outpouring of support for the deceased dog and the implication that its life was more important than Gray’s.


I don’t want to upset animal lovers, but I’m really tired of seeing animals juxtaposed with black people in any way, shape, or fashion—especially in cases where violence or fatalities are in play. And if it really is the case that Gray shot at the dog—to defend himself, I have to imagine, given that police sicced the dog on Gray—then I really can’t abide by officers responding by shooting him anyway.

There’s a trend now of joking that the way to make white people care about gun control is to get a dog shot.


I wish it were just a joke.

Natalie Degraffinried is a senior editor for Kotaku.



Let me tell you: I’m a big-time dog lover, and I am disgusted by any juxtaposition of Black people with animals. Any normal person should be disturbed and angered by that. But then again, I’m Black, and don’t need convincing that my people are human beings deserving of dignity.