Last week a video of Delaware police raiding the home of Mark Reedy and killing his dog, Kilo, went viral. Now, security photos obtained by Puppycide Database Project appear to show that the Smyrna Police Department entered Mark Reedy's residence - in contradiction of claims that Smyrna PD was not involved with Kilo's death, and possibly as part of a warrantless entry.
UPDATE: Smyrna Police Department has confirmed that the officer in the photograph is in fact an employee of Smyrna Police Department AND that the photograph was taken November 19th.
On Friday, November 20, 2015 a tactical unit comprised of officers from the Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team broke down the door to Mark Reedy's house and, within moment of entering, shot Reedy's dog Kilo. Delaware State Police (DSP) later released a statement on their Facebook page claiming that the raid was conducted for two reasons: first, to serve a search warrant obtained as part of a homicide investigation, and second, to serve a Family Court Writ of Injunction as part of a domestic violence complaint.
While a number of things stood out Puppycide Database Project when we reviewed the DSP's press release, we will focus on just one element of their statement: the confirmation that Smyrna Police Department officers were at Mark Reedy's residence on November 19th, the day before the raid in which Kilo the dog was killed:
"It was at this time [Thursday, November 19, 2015] the suspect was given ample opportunities to comply with the Family Court Order to turn over his weapons and which he failed to do. The Smyrna Police Department with the assistance of Delaware State Police Homicide Detectives made several attempts to serve Mark R. Reedy at his residence located at 421 Kates Way, Smyrna, but were unable to serve the Family Court Order. On the same day, a short time later a vehicle was seen leaving the suspect’s address and a traffic stop was conducted on the vehicle. A search of the vehicle revealed several weapons were located in the vehicle and were subsequently seized."
While Smyrna Police Department has not provided a press release on their Facebook page describing their involvement in the Mark Reedy case, they have responded to a comment left on their page about Reedy. In that comment, Smyrna PD is adamant that they were not involved in any way on the raid on Mark Reedy's home.
Mark Reedy himself made statements on his Facebook page that implicate the involvement of the Smyrna Police Department:
The latest post on Mark Reedy's Facebook page (as of this writing) is a still shot from what appears to be the same security camera that took the now-viral video of the raid that killed Reedy's dog, Kilo. In the photograph, a single police officer crosses the threshold of Mark Reedy's front door. Along with the photograph, Reedy leaves a comment alleging that the officer in the photo entered his house without a warrant.
The raid in which police killed Kilo clearly took place during the day, with sunlight clearly visible through the front door. In the still above, the light seems to put the time at either early morning or sometime at night. The camera taking the still photo also appears to be in a different position from when the video was taken. In the video, the camera's top frame is partially obscured by what appears to be a table - almost as the camera was mounted on the bottom of a table. In the still photo, the angle of the shot is similar, but the object obscuring the top of the frame is gone. It is possible that the camera was on top of the table for the still shot. Also, the drapes around the front door are a different color, but perhaps thats just a trick of the lighting.
While it seems obvious, all of this indicates that the photograph was taken at a different time than the video. The photo either occurred after the video of the raid, or before the raid. The photo could have been taken after the raid but during the search of Reedy's house. Perhaps the execution of the search warrant occurred over the course of many hours, but that seems unlikely. The living room in the photo looks incredibly tidy. Houses that have had search warrants executed are not tidy. It strikes us as hard to imagine the mirror would remain precariously balanced on the corner of a wall, that both interior doors would still be closed or that the small trash can would not be tipped over. For those who haven't had the privilege of having their home searched by police, here are a few photos of homes just following a search (note these homes were searched, there was no standoff or confrontation inside):
Bremerton PD Special Operations Group raided a home looking for drugs following complaints from neighbors
Cannon River Drug and Violent Offender Task Force and the Dakota County MAAG team used explosives to serve a "no-knock" night-time search warrant looking for drugs
Evansville SWAT raids the home of an elderly woman suspected of saying mean things on the internet (seriously)
More important than the angle of the camera is the uniform the individual in the photograph is wearing. Puppycide Database Project reviewed uniforms for multiple units within both the Delaware State Police and the Smyrna Police Department. While the insignia on the uniform's sleeve is not legible, the color of the uniform is clearly visible: black shirt, black pants with yellow piping.
As it turns out, the Delaware State Police have quite a reputation when it comes to their uniforms. At least twice - in 2005 and 1981 - DSP was nationally recognized as being the "Best Dressed" police department in the nation (seriously). Delaware State Police uniforms have stayed on a consistent theme: light blue or grey with yellow piping, as can be seen from this photograph of the Delaware State Police museum
The tactical unit that raided Reedy's house, the Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT), is one of the few exceptions. SORT officers uniforms can vary and include this militarized green as is worn by the officers in the video, as well as this photo from when SORT was deployed to the New Castle County Courthouse in 2013. Note how their armor says TROOPER on their chest, and not POLICE:
We have also seen DSP SORT officers in a solid black uniform, with no piping, as can be seen in this promotional video produced for the State Police's museum in late 2013, and in this still photograph below from the same film. Note both the placement and small font of the lettering on the officer's armor in this photo, which is clearly different than the over-sized POLICE emblazoned on the chest of the officer in the photograph from Reedy's residence.
Ultimately, Puppycide Database Project was unable to identify a unit within the Delaware State Police that wears a uniform consisting of black shirt, and black pants with yellow piping.
The uniform of officers with the patrol division of the Smyrna Delaware Police Department, however, turns out to match the uniform of the officer in Mark Reedy's photo exactly. Take a look at the uniforms in the photographs below, all of which were copied from the Smyrna Police Department Patrol Division web page, noting the solid black color, yellow piping and long sleeves (in the bottom image's background uniform)
Then once again compare to the photo from Mark Reedy:
Remember how we pointed out how the font on the ballistic vest for the Delaware State Police SORT team didn't quite match the font on this officer's vest? It turns out that the Smyrna Police Department's Special Tactics and Response (STAR) Team wear vests that look just like the officer in the photo:
Mark Reedy initially blamed the Delaware State Police for entering his home without a warrant on November 19th, as you can read below in a partial transcription of a video message on his Facebook page:
"So on top of it I wasn't home on the 19th. The uh Police Department calls me says hey they have to see me. I said that is not a problem I will be there before 12 o'clock. Next thing I know my security system let's me know that somebody's in my house. I look, who is in my house? Delaware State Police, in my house. I didn't let them in. Somebody let them in, I didnt let them in. So to me they broke into my house. Even though I said I was on my way back to see them. Because they wanted to do their um sneak up and grab your gun shit, is what it is. This is all about gun rights and being a victim. So they snap, they come up to my house trying to get the guns, my dog's in the cage he's in his kennel inside the house that's where I normally keep him. I guess they were too afraid to go into the house any further than they did - they did enter my house, I'll tell you that right now, they did enter my house and I have it on video. They had no right to be in my house without my being there. They didn't have a search warrant but they still entered my premises."
However, Mark Reedy was not home when he claims the officer in the photo entered his house. If the officer in the photo entered Reedy's house either on November 20th or November 19th, Reedy would not necessarily be in a position to say for sure who entered his home.
In an earlier post, the Puppycide Database Project mentioned that we could not confirm the exact day and time the still photograph was taken. Under ordinary circumstances, digital photographs contain information called EXIF data that can indicate the time and location the image was taken. However, Facebook removes such identifying information when images are uploaded. When we first became aware of the Mark Reedy case, it seemed sensible that the Smyrna Police Department might have accompanied the Delaware State Police during the November 20th raid. However, because the Smyrna Police Department has stated publicly they were not present during the November 20th raid, the photograph of the lone officer crossing the threshold of Mark Reedy's door becomes more problematic than it was initially.
If in fact the officer in the photograph is in fact a Smyrna Police Department officer, one of two things occurred. Either the officer entered Mark Reedy's home during the November 20th raid, in which case the Smyrna Police Department's statement about their lack of involvement in the raid is untrue, or the officer entered Mark Reedy's home on some other date, without a search warrant.
We have requested clarification from both Smyrna Police Department and the Delaware State Police as to the identity of the man in the photograph, and will update this post with additional information as soon as it becomes available.
UPDATE: Smyrna Police Department has confirmed that the officer in the photograph is a Smyrna Police Department employee.
OTHER UPDATE: Smyrna Police Department has now confirmed that the photograph was taken November 19th, which confirm's Mark Reedy's account that the photo shows a warrantless entry
ANOTHER UPDATE: To their credit (?), Smyrna Police Department reflexively answered our question in the negative before editing their response to dodge the question and finally admitting involvement: