A routine arrest on a misdemeanor warrant turned into a wild melee on Broadway involving three Kingston cops, an Olive man and an angry pit bull. The Jan. 13 brawl left one cop with a bite wound to his hand, the dog recovering from a gunshot wound and 32-year-old David Smith facing felony charges after he allegedly set the animal on officers.
According to police, the incident occurred around 6:30 p.m. on Broadway near Field Court when Kingston cop Ryan Schuman, on routine patrol, spotted Smith walking with his dog. Recognizing Smith from the department’s warrant list (he was wanted for a charge of criminal mischief) Schuman detained Smith and called for backup. A few minutes later, with officers Aaron Fitzgerald and Jeremy Arciello on the scene, Schuman informed Smith that he was under arrest.
At that point, according to KPD Chief Egidio Tinti, Smith turned the dog loose. In the ensuing scuffle, police say, the dog bit Arciello on the hand, causing a minor wound. Then after first using a Taser, which failed to deploy properly, Fitzgerald drew his service weapon and fired a single shot, striking the dog in the body. Smith who, police said, struggled with police and ignored commands to get the dog under control, was also Tased during the incident.
Tinti said that the officers involved transported the dog to Buckhead Paws an emergency veterinary center in the Town of Ulster, where the animal is reported to be in stable condition. Arciello was taken to KingstonHospital where he was treated for puncture wounds and released. Smith was arrested and booked on a felony charge of second-degree assault and three misdemeanor counts of resisting arrest, obstructing governmental administration and criminal mischief.
Tinti said that the shooting was regrettable, but added that Fitzgerald, who is a certified firearms instructor and member of the department’s emergency response team, acted in accordance with department guidelines to prevent serious injury to himself and fellow officers.
“It’s unfortunate because it’s not the dog’s fault,” said Tinti. “Once [Smith] releases the dog he’s saying all bets are off. It’s sad it came down to that, but it’s the owner’s fault, apparently he had no regard for the animal.”
According to police, Smith was sent to Ulster County Jail without bail after his arraignment.