(WSVN) - A South Florida man called 911 about a burglary in his neighborhood, but that emergency phone call left him broken-hearted and two Miami-Dade police officers under investigation. The Nightteam’s Karen Hensel takes us inside the deadly call.
Sylvan Plowright spent more than a decade in the 1980s and ’90s as a professional boxer.
That’s him at the 5th Street Gym on South Beach made famous by Muhammad Ali.
Sylvan Plowright: “I kind of relate to him a lot because I trained also at the 5th Street Gym on Miami Beach and was using the same locker room that he had.”
As a young boxer, Sylvan was used to taking punches to the gut, but now older, at 67, he just took a big punch to the heart.
Officer on police radio: “We’re going to need a supervisor here, shots fired.”
The shots fired by police are the gunshots that killed Sylvan’s dog Niles.
It was Oct. 5 when Sylvan called 911.
911 call: “Calling about a burglary taking place. They have a saw cutting through a door, a barred door of an open, unoccupied residence.”
Dispatcher: “And it’s behind your address?”
Although Sylvan did not know the exact address, he told the dispatcher details about the house where the burglary was taking place.
911 call (Plowright to dispatcher): “It’s a corner lot. It’s a white car parked in front of the place, a white SUV.”
Instead, two officers showed up at his home, and that’s where things took a deadly turn.
Sylvan Plowright, dog was shot and killed: “I looked up and seen the flashlights — it had just got dusk — shining in the dog’s face, so I ran out and said ‘Hey, hey, I’m the one who called, you know? Please don’t tase my dog. What do you want me to do?’ I kept repeating those three things.”
Sylvan says when he came outside, Niles was barking, and the officers were in his driveway, weapons drawn.
He says the two officers yelled two different commands.
Sylvan Plowright: “At this point, he’s telling me, ‘Get on the ground, get on the ground.’ This one here is saying, ‘Get your dog, get your dog,’ so I get on the ground to get my dog. At this point, he is saying ‘Shoot him.’ I was hoping he didn’t mean for him to shoot me.”
The dog was tased by one officer.
Sylvan Plowright: “He made a squeal and went on his back.”
Sylvan says he had his hand on Niles when the second officer fired his gun.
Sylvan Plowright: “Two seconds after he tased him, he shot from over there and shot the dog three times. There’s still his blood right there. I saw the dog’s last breath. That’s when my girlfriend came out.”
Remnants of police tape remain, along with questions about that night.
The incident report offers few details about why officers fired, only that they discharged their weapons “toward the listed animal … while in the performance of their duties.”
There is no mention of the dog being aggressive, but the report does describe Sylvan Plowright as “very distraught and uncooperative.”
Neighbors I spoke with say the dog was friendly. We requested the officers’ body camera footage, but that won’t be released until after the internal affairs investigation is over.
Meanwhile, Sylvan is still waiting to bury Niles. The dog’s body is being held by Animal Services, now considered evidence.
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