K-9 Units Under Fire After Police Are Accused of Using Excessive Force on Suspects While They Surrender
The Salt Lake City Police Department suspended its entire K-9 unit after an incident involving a 14-year-old boy who had his hands in the air.
K-9s are trained to run down suspects in a matter of seconds. Now some K-9 units across the United States are coming under fire after allegations of excessive force.
In April 2020, police in Salt Lake City were responding to a domestic violence call when Jeffrey Ryans says the dog clamped down on his leg for 30 agonizing seconds.
Ryans, a Black man, says he was already on his knees with his hands in the air when a police officer, who is white, ordered his dog to attack.
Footage shows the police officer telling the K-9 “hit,” and "good boy" as Ryans was getting attacked while on his knees and his hands in the air. The officer was arrested and charged with aggravated assault. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial.
Indiana man Richard Bailey says he's lucky to be alive after police officers in Lafayette ordered their dog to attack while Bailey was on the ground.
"Look at my neck. This is where the dog just grabbed me and just slung me around and just got to chewing on my neck,” Bailey tells Inside Edition.
Police were responding to a domestic violence call. Bailey's attorney, Fatima Johnson, says her client was already on the ground with his hands behind his back.
"He doesn't have a chance to defend himself, to protect himself, and for 37 seconds ... they let that dog rip at his throat," Johnson says.
The officers were cleared of any wrongdoing by a special prosecutor. The chief of police says Bailey was resisting arrest.
"This bite, unfortunately, led to a potentially serious injury to the subject as he resisted arrest," Lafayette Police Chief Patrick Flannelly says.
Police in Indianapolis have been accused of unleashing their dogs on dozens of unarmed suspects, many of whom were involved in low-level crimes like shoplifting or driving without a license.
A Pulitzer Prize-winning investigation by the Indianapolis Star published in 2020 exposed how police dogs in the city had bitten more than 240 suspects between 2017 and 2019. That's more bites than K-9 units from 10 major cities combined.
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