On December 30, 2017, Kansas police officer Dexter Betts responded to a 911 call at a house in the 1500 North Gentry block. Danielle Maples, the mother of the girl who was injured by the officer, made the 911 call after her husband threatened to hurt himself. According to Maples, her and her husband were standing outside their home unarmed when the police walked through the home, the Wichita Eagle reported.
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The video footage shows Betts firing two shots at a 35-to-40 pound English bull terrier he claimed was charging at him as he was walking through the home. Although Betts was aiming at the dog, a bullet fragment ricocheted and hit a nine-year-old girl sitting behind the animal. The bullet injured the area right above her right eye. According to the Wichita Eagle, fragments of the bullet also injured the dog. However, the dog onl suffered minor injuries. Three other children were also in the room at the time of the shooting, all between the ages of 6 and 10.
In the video, Betts and another officer are seen going in through the front door of the house with flashlights. There are two children standing in front of a television in the living room and a girl sitting on the floor. Betts checks the hallway and a few rooms and then comes back to the living room. The other unidentified officer can be heard saying, "We got a dog inside here, too," seconds before Betts opens fire in the living area while shouting "Whoa! Whoa!"
The girl can then be heard yelling,"Ow! Ow! Ow, you hurt my eye! Ow! Ow!"
According to the officer's defense attorney Jess Hoeme, Betts shot at the dog in self-defense.
"Officer Betts responded to a 911 call that was highly volatile and presented a real danger for the responding officers' safety. The 911 caller advised that a firearm had been used in violence in the caller's house. Officer Betts' supervisor directed Betts to enter the house and locate that firearm. The dog — highly agitated by having been abused and choked by a resident of the house — bared its teeth, barked viciously, and lunged at Officer Betts," Hoeme wrote in a Friday statement, KWCH reported.
"Acting in full compliance with the Wichita Police Department's Policy Manual, Officer Betts did exactly what he was trained to do. The entire situation is unfortunate, but it is still a case of self‐defense. Officer Betts is innocent of the offense charged," the statement added.
However, in the body camera video released Thursday, the girl is partially shown by Betts' flashlights seconds before he pulled the trigger, just as an attorney for the girl's family, Charley O'Hara, has previously argued.
"The family has really wanted everyone to see it and realize… and hopefully take measures so it doesn't happen again," O'Hara said Friday following the release of the video.