Video Shows K9 Repeatedly Bite Compliant Black Man

Months later, Salt Lake City officer is placed on leave
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 13, 2020 7:44 AM CDT

K9s are off the job for now in Salt Lake City after police footage showed a dog repeatedly biting a Black man kneeling on the ground with his hands up. Lawyers for Jeffrey Ryans, 36, say the April 24 attack left him with leg gashes that looked like they were caused by a chainsaw as well as nerve and tendon damage that required multiple expensive surgeries. Police had arrived at the home of Ryans' wife early in the morning. In body-camera footage shared by NBC News, Ryans is seen standing behind a gate in the backyard as an officer tells him he's not authorized to be there. "I live here," he responds, with his hands up, adding he's getting ready for work. Officer Nickolas Pearce and a K9 then approach from behind. "Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit," Pearce says. Ryans takes a knee but soon screams in pain. "Why are you biting me?"

The dog continues to lunge at him over the course of 45 seconds. Pearce is heard saying "hit" and "good boy," per NBC. Ryans was eventually arrested on suspicion of violating a protective order. His lawyers, Gabriel White and Dan Garner, say Ryans' wife secured the order last year following non-violent disagreements but then allowed Ryans to return home, believing the order was lifted. Ryans suspects someone outside the home heard an argument and called 911, per the Salt Lake Tribune. "I am disturbed by what I saw in that video, frustrated by how the situation was handled, and am committed to working to ensure neither happen again," says Mayor Erin Mendenhall. Police said Wednesday that the K9 program is suspended pending review and Pearce is on administrative leave pending an external investigation. But White questions the timing. They've "had all of these facts for months and months and months," he tells the Tribune. (More excessive force stories.)

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