The Salt Lake City Police Department placed an officer on leave and suspended its K-9 program after an April video showed the officer saying “good boy” as a dog tore a Black man’s leg apart, NBC News reports.
Detective Greg Wilking, a spokesperson for Salt Lake City’s police spokesman, told NBC that officers responded to a report of domestic violence and arrested Jeffrey Ryans on “suspicion of violating a protective order.”
In the 3-minute body camera footage, one of the officers approaches Ryans at a fence and asks how to get around the house. Ryans, 36, keeps his hands up and answers the officers’ questions.
“You’re not supposed to be here, Jeffrey,” the officer says.
Officer Nickolas Pearce approaches Ryans from the other side of the fence and says, “Get on the ground or you’re gonna get bit.”
Ryans kneels down on the ground, and the dog begins biting his leg.
“I’m on the ground, why are you biting me,” Ryan says. “I’m on the ground, stop.”
Pearce stands above Ryans and repeatedly says “good boy” as the dog bites Ryans’ leg.
The dog continues biting Ryans leg for over a minute and Ryans yells in pain, saying “ow, stop.”
At the end of the video, Pearce says, “You’re listening great now, you weren’t listening great a minute ago.”
Ryans and his team of attorneys, Daniel Garner and Gabriel White, filed a lawsuit against the police department for excessive use of force, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.
White did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.
“I felt like a chew toy,” Ryans said. “I didn’t know why this was happening to me. That’s what was going through my mind. Why?”
Ryans told the Salt Lake Tribune that he has difficulty walking and acquired nerve and tendon damage. He said he may need to get his leg amputated.
The Salt Lake City Police Department, which did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment, issued a statement addressing the footage and Ryans’ lawsuit, writing that it “launched an Internal Affairs investigation to determine if the use of force was within policy.”
“We have placed the officer on administrative leave pending the results of these investigations,” the statement said. “SLCPD has also launched a thorough review process of the K9 apprehension program by external subject matter experts.”
Salt Lake City Mayor, Erin Mendenhall tweeted that she conveyed the urgency of the case to Chief Mike Brown and urged him to “be as transparent as possible with the public about the process and results.”
Ryans said that people need to know that Black lives matter, per the Salt Lake City Tribune.
“Everybody matters, but you can’t just treat people differently because of their religion or their skin color,” he said. “I developed myself to get to where I’m at right now. I should have the same respect as others. We don’t get it.”
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H/T the Root