Salt Lake City Police Order Dog To Attack Black Man On His Knees With Hands Raised
Warning: Distressing Footage
Salt Lake City Police have launched an internal investigation after bodycam footage emerged of officers ordered a police dog to attack a Black man who was on his knees with his hands in the air.
Jeffery Ryans, 36, intends to file a lawsuit after police instructed the dog to attack him in spite of him complying with their orders, something he believes has everything to do with the colour of his skin.
Now, almost four months later, Ryans’ leg is still bandaged as a result of the injuries he sustained, with the 36-year-old saying the wound still hasn’t healed and he’s been left with numerous medical bills.
Warning: Distressing Footage
Police officers were sent to Ryans’ home on April 20 after a neighbour called them, saying they had heard him arguing with his wife. When they arrived at his home, bodycam footage shows the 36-year-old standing in his backyard, preparing to go to work.
As he stands there smoking, the footage shows one officer approaching Ryans with the police dog, beaming his torch in his face and screaming, ‘Get on the ground or you’re going to get bit.’
Ryans can then be seen raising his hands in the air and telling the officer, ‘I’m just going to work,’ before a number of officers rushed into the backyard as one claimed he was trying to jump the fence.
These officers repeatedly ordered him to get on the ground, telling him, ‘You’re gonna get bit.’ Despite Ryans complying with their orders, kneeling on the floor with his hands raised, officers then ordered the dog to launch its attack.
‘Hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit, hit,’ one of the officers shouts, leading the dog to lurch forward and maul Ryans’ leg. At this point, Ryans can be heard begging the officers to stop, pleading, ‘I’m on the ground, why are you biting me?’
Rather than pulling the dog away, the officer further encourages it to ‘hit’ Ryans and the animal continues its attack, clamping its jaws around the man’s leg as he repeatedly screams out in pain.
Officers can be heard praising the ‘good boy’ as Ryans rolls onto his front in agony, yelling, ‘Why are you doing this? What did I do? I was just getting my clothes to go to work.’
‘I wasn’t running,’ Ryans told The Salt Lake Tribune. ‘I wasn’t fighting. I was just cooperating. We’ve been through this. We’ve seen this. Always cooperate with the police, no matter what.’
He said the injuries he suffered to his leg led to multiple surgeries and a lost job, as well as missed opportunities with his children as he can no longer play as much sport with them.
Since the attack, Ryans has taken the first steps to filing a lawsuit against the Salt Lake City Police Department. In a notice of a claim, his attorneys – Daniel Garner and Gabriel White – say Ryans suffered nerve and tendon damage as well as infections, and he still has difficulty walking.
Not only that, but they say doctors have not ruled out the possibility that his leg will need to be amputated as a result of the damage inflicted. His attorneys also allege that the officers used an unnecessary level of force.
White alleges officers reacted the way they did because Ryans is Black, telling The Salt Lake Tribune: ‘What’s different between the two of us that could make this happen to him, but I couldn’t imagine happening to me? No one’s ever shown up at my house.’
The Salt Lake City Police Department said:
As there is pending litigation, we are unable to discuss specifics of the case. Although this incident occurred in April, there was never an Internal Affairs complaint filed.
When we became aware of the situation this morning, an Internal Affairs investigation was immediately launched by our department to determine if the use of force was within policy. That investigation will consider the totality of the events that occurred that night.
Police say they went to arrest Ryans because he was violating a protective order filed by his wife that meant he was not supposed to be in the home. Court records show he is facing charges of domestic violence for an incident that occurred in December.
However, Ryans claims his wife told him that the protective order had been lifted and said he didn’t know her request to do so was still pending, adding he had been back in their home weeks prior to the incident.
Ryans is now facing a charge of violating that protective order, although court dates have yet to be set.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk