Investigation Launched After Disturbing Video Shows NC Police Officer Mistreating K9
A North Carolina police officer has been ‘administratively separated’ from a K9 named Zuul after a disturbing video surfaced of him mistreating the dog during training.
Salisbury Police Department (SPD) is aware of the video and said they are unable to comment because it is an “ongoing personnel matter.”
The alarming video was anonymously shared with a Charlotte-area TV station, FOX 46, who shared it with the public.
In the video, the officer put a leash around the dog’s neck and then proceeded to lift Zuul by the leash and carry him over his shoulder. The handler then slammed the K9 against the side of the vehicle before throwing him inside and hitting him.
Someone is then heard saying, “We’re good, no witnesses,” and “Is your camera on?”
The K9 was reportedly “not harmed and is healthy and being well-cared-for,” said SPD Chief Jerry Stokes. Zuul appeared at a recent news conference to show the public he’s happy and healthy.
SPD released a statement that began by reassuring the public that the health, safety, and well-being of both human and canine officers are their top priority.
“It is important to understand that a police canine is trained to use force against criminal suspects and a handler must ensure they have complete control over the dog at all times so that any use of the canine in the field is appropriate and lawful. When a canine is noncompliant with the handler’s commands, the handler is trained to correct the dog. Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context,” said Chief Stokes.
“SPD cannot and will not comment about whether the training tactics used in the video were appropriate, because that is still being reviewed.”
It is unclear when the incident took place, but an outside agency is conducting the investigation. In addition, the department is reviewing its K9 policy and guidelines.
People who have viewed the 59-second video are outraged. Many are calling for the human officer to be terminated and are disgusted by the aggressive treatment of Zuul.
An officer from Illinois who trains and handles K9 officers wrote, “As a handler and officer and trainer myself. This is downright appalling! Correction needed to be handled yes, to lift the dog by his lead, hang him over your shoulder by said lead and then throw him in your unit and hit him, that’s a negative from me. Training practice needs to be restructured, and this handler needs to be removed. He does this to his partner what is he gonna do on the street? He’s a liability and lawsuit waiting to happen. As for the other officers saying you’re good, no witnesses, and are the cameras off. That’s disgusting as well. That’s the issues we cops are facing. Rogue loose cannons making us all look bad and putting us in more danger.”
Another person commented, ‘This is totally uncalled for and truly appalling. This officer needs to be fired. The simple fact that his response was, “no worries, there are no witnesses.” That one statement say he knows what he did was wrong. Investigate all you want, the end result should be a fired police human! That is an assault on a cop by a cop.’
You can view the disturbing video by clicking here, but viewer discretion is advised.