Filer City Council Meeting

DREW NASH • TIMES-NEWS Dozens gather and chant 'let us speak, we pay you' as people file out of a city council meeting Tuesday evening, Feb. 18, 2014, in Filer. With capacity at around forty people total, dozens were left outside of the meeting.

FILER • Filer officials stayed true to their word at Tuesday evening’s City Council meeting, maintaining a “no comment” policy about the recent dog shooting by Police Officer Tarek Hassani.

But outside City Hall, protesters honked their cars’ horns and chanted “Hassani must go!”

“We won’t be silent,” read a sign waved by Filer resident Ken Knefel.

Hassani killed “Hooch,” a 7-year-old black Labrador running loose in a west Filer neighborhood, on Feb. 8. About 50 people showed up at the meeting, hoping to be heard. Only about 30 people made it inside the small council chambers in Filer City Hall before the doors were closed.

Inside, Mayor Rick Dunn reminded the crowd that comments were not welcome at the meeting. The city will accept written comments though, he said.

Dunn’s words were drowned out by shouts of “Let us speak” from outside the chambers. After addressing several agenda items, the mayor called an executive session and asked the crowd to leave.

A video of the shooting taken by the dashcam of Hassani’s cruiser, first made public on Magicvalley.com, sparked a national outcry against Hassani and the Police Department.

“It’s not a local issue any more,” Knefel said of the overwhelming response to the video.

“People are fed up,” he told Boise television news cameras after the meeting. “Somebody has to be held accountable.”

Although a group of locals have voiced support for Hassani’s decision to use deadly force against the dog, no public support for the officer was apparent at the council meeting.

The city declined the Times-News’ request to interview Hassani until an investigation into the shooting — to be conducted by the Nampa Police Department — is concluded.

This is not the first investigation into Hassani’s use of deadly force on duty. In May 2010, Hassani shot Markcus May during a chase. May, who later was found guilty of shooting a Buhl man, was trying to evade police when Hassani shot through the tinted window of May’s car, hitting him in the head.

An investigation cleared Hassani’s use of force in that case.

Penny Kissinger said the protest against Hassani has grown beyond the dog shooting.

“Hassani is a bully,” she said after the meeting.

“This is not going away,” said protest organizer Mark Deaton. “The town has spoken.”

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