A video has surfaced showing members of the San Diego Police Department release a K9 on a naked and non-violent man. This gruesome video shows not only the K9 launching onto the seemingly confused subject, but the police allowed the K9 to maul the man for over 40 seconds. The video, which has been withheld from the public, has only just come out after the city agreed to a $385,000 settlement.
The man, who has asked not to be identified, was under the influence of LSD, a drug that in itself, does not lead to violence. The reality is, as this case shows here, that once a K9 shows up on scene, someone’s getting hurt. In this case, the K9 handler clearly violated established use of force protocols that require a threat in order for a K9 to be deployed. Of course, the police justified the brutal attack by stating “the video shows the agitated and defiant demeanor of a man under the influence of LSD. When played in its entirety, the video shows our officers trying to gain his compliance before he became defiant. While the split-second decisions of police officers are easy to second guess when you know the outcome, keep in mind the deployment of our K9 is intended to prevent the situation from escalating.”
The deployment of the K9 was the ultimate escalation possible in this situation, so deploying the dog to prevent escalation is a bold-faced lie that Lt. Scott Wahl, the department spokesman, hopes you won’t catch. The male “suspect” was never charged with a crime and was released from the hospital without charges. Depute the mauling the man took, no discipline was ever handed down to the officers in question, particularly the K9 officer, who should have known better. As usual, the only justice was found in the form of a payoff.
The man had been partying the night before and had wandered into the wilderness. The officers confronted the man, who refused to follow their commands. “Not following commands” is heard as a preface to every police shooting and use of force, however, the one thing cops don’t want you to know is that “not following commands” is not enough to launch an attack. The failure to follow commands has to itself be a danger to the officers. This is exploited by police who assume correctly, the ignorance of their audience.
The police can be heard yelling at the man, “Put your hands behind your back and the dog will stop biting you ” This is not how police work is done. The man was being physically controlled by the officers who had no legal or moral justification for using the K9 in the first place. The department’s own policy states the K9 can be used to apprehend “assaultive, violent or dangerous” suspects or individuals attempting to hide or flee. Notice that just being a dick isn’t on the list, yet the department acted like it was just another violent subject that was mauled. Their policy also requires the officer to warn the subject before releasing the dog, which didn’t happen. The officer who wrote the report stated that due to the highly agitated nature of the subject, he had no time to warn him. More lies.
This isn’t the only K9-involved mauling to be brought to our attention. Recently, we became aware of a 53-year-old man in Minnesota, who was innocent and minding his own business when he was suddenly mauled by a K9, simply for “matching the description” of a wanted subject. Both the Minnesota case and the San Diego case demonstrate the same brutality we see in virtually every incident involving police – the only difference being the weapon of choice. These cases highlight the need for sweeping reform of K9 policy in the US.
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