COMMERCE CITY - A Commerce City officer who shot and killed a dog while on a loose animal call was found not guilty of animal cruelty Wednesday.
An Adams County District Court jury acquitted Commerce City Police Officer Robert Price on a felony charge of aggravated cruelty to animals.
Officer Price was charged in Dec. 2012 in the shooting death of a dog named Chloe on Nov. 24, 2012.
Price was among several officers who responded to a call about a dog running at large in the 9600 block of Nucla Street in Commerce City. The dog was shocked with a taser and then shot multiple times.
A neighbor took cell phone video of the dog's death, which was a key piece of evidence in the case.
The dog's owner, Gary Branson, said the verdict is "not justice for Chloe." He said in a release that, "this isn't the result I would have hoped for, but we move on and we move forward."
The Commerce City Police Department said Price will return to duty. He was on paid administrative leave since the incident.
An administrative review will determine if any city policies were violated.
The city thanked the jury for a "thoughtful conclusion" in a statement released shortly after the verdict.
A conviction could have ended Officer Price's 6-year career with the Commerce City Police Department.
"I respect the jury's verdict," said District Attorney Dave Young. "These are very difficult cases for prosecutors to handle."
The Fraternal Order of Police said Price was wrongly accused, and supported Price throughout the trial.
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