The Salt Lake City Police Department has suspended an officer who ordered a K9 to bite a man’s leg while kneeling with his hands up, resulting in serious injuries and multiple operations.
Early April 20, Jeffery Ryans, a 36-year-old black man, was arguing with his wife as he prepared for work, which prompted someone to call the police, the Salt Lake Tribune reported first.
Ryans attorney Gabriel White said Ryans and his wife had an earlier argument in December that resulted in his wife filing a protection warrant against him, but they had since reconciled. Ryans had been back in the house for weeks.
Salt Lake City Police Department said officers had been called home several times to respond to domestic violence and that Ryan̵
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In April, six police officers and a K9 unit went into the residence and found Ryans in the yard, smoking a cigarette and letting the family dog out. In bodycam footage, officers can be seen telling him to get on the ground.
“Get on the ground! Get on the ground or you will get something, ”said the K9 officer as other officers issue similar orders.
Ryans seems to give in and falls to his knees with his hands up. But the K9 officer still ordered the dog to “hit” as it got closer and told the K9 to bite and tear apart Ryan’s leg. For 45-60 seconds the K9 officer continuously orders the dog to “hit” and tells him “good boy” while Ryans screams in pain on the floor.
Warning: The following video is violent.
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“This was a dog that was trained to not only bite, but also to snap and tear. So when you look at its injuries it looks like it was hit by a chainsaw,” said Ryans’ Attorney Gabriel White. “It’s the nastiest dog bite I’ve ever seen.”
Ryans had multiple surgeries on his leg that became infected, and doctors told him it might still need amputation.
Ryans’ attorneys filed a lawsuit on June 29, the first step in a lawsuit. They argue that Ryans has been treated unfairly for being black.
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“This guy had an argument with his wife. Have I ever argued with my wife? Sure, we argue we are human. Have I ever gone out at night and let my dog out? Yes, ”said White. “Could I ever imagine a whole squad or team of police officers dismounting in one place with an attack dog and a number of vehicles to look for me? No.”
Salt Lake City Police Department said they heard of the controversial use of the police dog just last week. City Police Department Detective Greg Wilking said there were three investigations into the event, one by the Police Department of Internal Affairs, one by a civilian review committee, and one by the Salt Lake City District Attorney to determine whether criminal charges should be brought .
In the meantime, the officer has been placed on administrative leave and the K9 arrest program has been suspended pending review.
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“I am concerned about what I saw in this video, frustrated with the situation and I am determined to make sure that neither happens again, “tweeted Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall on Wednesday.