Arfee update expected

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The city of Coeur d'Alene and its police department announced Thursday that the results of internal and external investigations into the shooting death of Arfee, the black Labrador, will be released today to members of the media.

It has been nearly two months since a Coeur d'Alene police officer - responding to a report of a suspicious van parked outside a Sherman Avenue coffee house - fired a shot through the window of the van, killing the pet dog inside.

The animal's owner, Craig Jones, was inside Java on Sherman at the time, unaware of what was unfolding outside. He returned to his vehicle to find a broken window, a note from the police to call them about his dog, and no dog.

The July 9 shooting quickly incited public ire.

It didn't help that the initial police report inaccurately identified the dog as "a vicious pit bull."

There has been a public outcry for "justice" ever since, and a hefty amount of criticism of the police department's handling of the matter.

The public has repeatedly called for the name of the police officer who fired the shot. After receiving multiple threats of violence toward the shooter, city and police officials said they would, at that time, withhold the name to protect the individual's safety.

The incident spurred a flood of commentary on websites and blogs, and in letters to the editor of this newspaper. Many of those missives include demands for the shooting officer's badge. The officer was placed on desk duty while the police investigated the matter "for policy and legal compliance."

Anonymous, an international group of hacker-activists, weighed in, creating videos warning that the group finds the Arfee situation unacceptable and cautioning that it would target the city's websites.

"Justice for Arfee" bumper stickers and car magnets began popping up around town.

A "Justice for Arfee" Facebook page had 2,195 followers on Thursday.

"Well this is going to be interesting. I can only say, don't get your hopes up. I think the timing of our rally this Sunday is perfect," was posted on the page Thursday in response to the announcement that details of the investigation would be released.

The group has organized a rally set for Sunday at 11:45 a.m. outside the coffee house where the shooting occurred: Java on Sherman, 819 Sherman Ave.

"One of our primary goals is to demonstrate to the public servants of our community that this will not simply 'go away,'" state rally organizers on Facebook.

"We stand passionately by our right to feel safe in our city, and for our pets to be provided with that same measure of security and safety."

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