Recorded on police bodycam video repeatedly ordering his K-9 to bite an unarmed man on his knees with his hands in the air, a Utah police officer was recently suspended after footage of the incident was released to the public. Despite the fact that the man in the video was surrendering and lying facedown on the ground, the officer continued commanding his dog to bite the defenseless man’s leg.
On April 24, Salt Lake City police officers responded to a call concerning a domestic argument at the home of Jeffery Ryans. According to police bodycam video, Ryans was standing in his backyard smoking a cigarette when the officers approached him for violating a protective order filed by his wife in December.
“Get on the ground or you’re gonna get bit!” one of the officers yelled at Ryans.
As Ryans began to comply with their orders and dropped to his knees with his open hands in the air, the officer with the K-9 ordered the police dog to bite Ryans’ left leg.
“I’m on the ground! I’m on the ground,” Ryans repeated. “Why are you biting me?”
Clearly not resisting or fighting back, Ryans remained lying on his stomach screaming in agony and shouting expletives as the officer incessantly commanded his dog to keep biting Ryans’ leg.
“Why are you guys doing this?” Ryans asked.
Although another officer had restrained Ryans and cuffed his hands behind his back, the cop kept encouraging his dog to continue chewing on the exposed leg.
“Hit! Good boy,” the K-9 officer told his dog. “Good boy.”
According to Ryans, his wife had told him that the protective order had been lifted, and he had moved back home weeks before this incident. But according to police officials, the protective order is still pending.
Ryans reportedly suffered nerve and tendon damage, infections, and has difficulty walking due to the multiple dog bites on his left leg. Doctors have not ruled out the possibility he will need to have his leg amputated, and he has gone through several surgeries in an attempt to repair the leg.
“I don’t know why they had to use that type of force towards me,” Ryans told Fox13. “I was cooperating. I wasn’t a threat to them.”
“He wasn’t running. He wasn’t doing anything that would have the officers have used this type of force,” said Ryans’ attorney, Dan Garner. “And so his biggest goal in this…is to add to the conversation that we’re having as a nation. That this can’t happen again. We need to learn from this.”
Ryans and his attorneys plan to file a lawsuit against the city and the department for excessive use of force. The Salt Lake City Police Department recently issued a statement announcing that they are launching an investigation into the incident.
On Wednesday, the officer who repeatedly ordered his K-9 to bite Ryans was suspended from the department. No criminal charges have currently been filed against the suspended officer.