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Salt Lake City police officer suspended for sicking K9 on Black man with hands up

New York Daily News logo New York Daily News 8/13/2020 Jessica Schladebeck
a dog playing with a frisbee © Provided by New York Daily News

A Utah officer accused of unnecessarily sicking his police K9 on a Black man, who was on his knees with his hands up at the time, has been suspended.

Authorities on Wednesday launched an internal investigation into the incident, most of which was captured on body camera video.

Jeremy Ryans was seated in his backyard smoking a cigarette when officers with the Salt Lake City Police Department showed up at his property. Someone had called law enforcement after hearing Ryans arguing with his wife inside the home.

Authorities said he’d been violating a protective order, which Ryans maintains should have been lifted at the time.

He told the Salt Lake Tribune he was gearing up to leave for his job as a train engineer when police started shining lights in his face.

“Get on the ground or you’re gonna get bit,” an officer could be heard saying in the clip

Just seconds later, the officer commands his K-9 to attack.

“Hit. Hit,” the officer repeats, with his trained dog launching toward the 36-year-old each time.

“I’m on the ground, why are you biting me? I’m on the ground, stop,” Ryans says in response.

All the while, the officer is praising his dog, cooing “Good boy,” each time he attacks. Even when another officer is restraining Ryans and putting him cuffs, the K9 officer continues to instruct his dog to “hit.”

Deputy Chief Jeff Kendrick told CBS News the department will be limiting the use of police dogs while the K-9 program undergoes and extensive review.

“Just deploying them just for searches, but we do not want them to come in contact with any individuals,” he explained.

Ryans is still recovering from multiple surgeries and an amputation for his leg has not been ruled out.

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