(ANTIMEDIA) — In the past week, multiple disturbing examples have emerged of police letting their K-9 units maul citizens. Unfortunately, this is not a new or isolated trend.
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In one of the most unsettling incidents that surfaced this week, police in Reno, NV, let a German Shepherd maul a man who was on his knees with his hands behind his head. The incident occurred in January but the footage was just released. Eugenio Enrique Corona had led officers on a high-speed chase after violating his parole, but he had surrendered and given up his attempt to escape.
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Posted by Police The Police on Monday, July 10, 2017
At least one officer in the video can be heard encouraging the dog, enthusiastically saying, “Yeah buddy, get that bad guy.” He adds, “Stop resisting,” though it’s doubtful Corona could hear the officer’s taunts considering he was on the ground being charged by the powerful canine. Though multiple officers approached Corona and the dog, the one who placed his hand on the dog’s collar did nothing to stop the dog from aggressively assaulting his arm. Another officer held Corona’s other arm while the dog continued to clamp down on Corona and whip its head back and forth.
As more officers descended on the situation, one told the dog to let go as the initial cop who said “Yeah buddy” continued to command Corona to “stop resisting.” The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Corona’s lawyers filed a lawsuit over the incident:
“’The surrender was unequivocal: (Corona) was on his knees with his hands above his head,’ wrote Corona’s lawyers, Terri Keyser-Cooper and Luke Busby, in a complaint alleging the officer used excessive force. ‘No reasonable officer could have construed (Corona’s) actions as anything other than a complete surrender.’”
In a video posted to Facebook by Angel Nunez, the dog viciously mauls the handcuffed man’s arm as one officer tepidly holds the dog. Two officers run up as the man cries out in pain, but rather than commanding the dog to stop or pulling it back, they hold the victim’s legs down as he repeatedly says, “Uncomfortable, uncomfortable, uncomfortable...” The person recording asks the officers why they won’t call the dog off.
“You guys got three guys versus one, you can’t get the dog off?” the man recording asks.
In yet another incident, a 19-year-old woman has claimed police allowed their K-9 to attack her in a case of mistaken identity. Tatyana Hargrove says that on Father’s Day last month, police approached her and insisted on searching her backpack. When she demanded a warrant, they detained her. Police claimed she violently resisted, at which point they unleashed the K-9. Hargrove is 5’2” tall and weighs 120 pounds.
“They never told me why they stopped me but after they beat and threw me in the cop car, that’s when they explained that there was some guy with a machete that was inside the grocery store and they were looking for him and I matched the description,” Hargrove said in a video released this month by NAACP. She is being charged with aggravated assault for allegedly assaulting officers.
Cops allowing K-9s to maul individuals who have not been charged with a crime and who, video evidence shows, are not resisting, is not a recent trend. In 2015, police in Vineland, New Jersey, allowed a K-9 to maul a man in the face as he curled up on the ground. Officers then attempted to confiscate video footage of the incident. The victim later died in police custody.
A St. Paul, Minnesota, officer was suspended without pay in 2016 after unleashing a K-9 on a man. The victim, according to police, matched the description of an armed suspect, but his attorneys said no reasonable officer could have mistaken him for the suspect police claimed they were pursuing.
Six officers stood around as the attack occurred while the man screamed out in pain. One officer kicked the victim.
“Get him, buddy, get him, buddy. Good,” one officer is heard presumably telling the K-9 on the recording, which the St.Paul police opted to release.
Late last year, NBC News shared footage of San Diego police officers allowing a K-9 to maul an unarmed, naked man, “including for over 40 seconds after officers had him pinned to the ground.”
A police officer who shot and killed a 73-year-old retired librarian at a police demonstration in Florida was also accused of letting a K-9 maul a cyclist who did not have his lights on. The officer “was accused of letting his K-9 attack Richard Shumacher for nearly two minutes after he stopped him for riding his bike without a light,” CBS News reported last year.
Officers have also proven themselves to be irresponsible with — and incapable of controlling — their dangerous dogs.
In June, a K-9 mauled a teen who was merely a bystander as police pursued a suspect Bear, Delaware.
In 2014, a K-9 attacked a toddler when an officer stopped his father during a traffic stop prompted by a case of mistaken identity over a shoplifting incident.
In addition to committing violence both sporadically — and upon orders from their owners — K-9s are also inaccurate in their non-aggressive tasks. In 2011, NPR reported on the Chicago Tribune’s findings that in suburban Chicago, “officers found drugs or paraphernalia in only 44 percent of cases in which the dogs had alerted them.”
As officers continue to evade accountability for committing violent, often lethal attacks on citizens who were not doing anything wrong, it is unsurprising that the dogs under their care continue to violently maul American citizens — often with the enthusiastic encouragement of their handlers.