The news is out: [The Salt Lake City Police Department suspended its K9 program on Wednesday, one day after the release of an officer’s body-camera footage that showed his dog appearing to repeatedly bite a Black man kneeling on the ground with his hands up.
In a statement, the department said it was enlisting outside experts to conduct a thorough review of the program’s policies and procedures while various investigations examine the April 24 incident that left Jeffrey Ryans, 36, with severe injuries that his lawyers said may require amputation.
The K9 officer involved in the encounter, Nickolas Pearce, was placed on administrative leave while the city’s civilian review board and internal affairs investigators investigate, the department said.
“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,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall tweeted Wednesday.
In disturbing body-camera footage first published by the Salt Lake City Tribune and obtained by NBC News, the officers can be seen talking with Ryans, who’s standing in the home’s backyard. “I’m just going to work,” he says. One officer asks how they can get to the yard; another appears to say Ryans is going jump the fence.
Pearce then appears to walk to the other side of the house, where he approaches Ryans and says, “Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit.”
As Ryans kneels with his hands up, Pearce appears to say “hit” and “good boy” while his dog bites Ryans, who repeatedly shouts in pain and asks why the dog is biting him.]
The 50s and 60s are not over for cops when it comes to black folks.