SLC Police Officer Suspended, K-9 Apprehensions On Hold After Man Bitten

Aug 12, 2020, 8:41 PM | Updated: Aug 13, 2020, 3:07 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A Salt Lake City police officer has been suspended after letting his K-9 partner attack a man in April, and the use of Salt Lake K-9s to engage with suspects has been put on pause for the time being.

That officer was put on leave Wednesday morning as an internal affairs investigation was launched into the incident.

Police body camera video, provided by Jeffery Ryans’ attorney, shows what happened to Ryans back in April.

“It looks like somebody hit him with a machete or a chainsaw,” said attorney Gabriel White.

Ryans has informed the Salt Lake City Police Department he intends to sue them for excessive use of force.

It was on that April night when an officer allowed his K-9 partner to bite Ryans’ leg.

Police arrived at the house of Ryans’ wife after a neighbor called police saying she heard arguing.

Ryans’ wife has a protective order against him, but she told him that order was being lifted and she allowed him to stay in the house for a few weeks before the incident.

When police arrived, they began questioning Ryans’ wife before finding Ryan in the backyard.

Officers told him to kneel and to get on the ground.

Ryans raised his hands in the body camera video, but the officer allowed his K-9 to attack Ryans.

“Why are you biting me?” Ryans could be heard screaming in the video.

“He still might lose his leg. He is two operations in after this. They’re still dealing with infections in his leg,” said White. “My client is from the South. He knows if you don’t comply, you might get shot, so even if the police are wrong, you comply and live to fight another day. He was complying with their orders and was not a threat.”

Salt Lake City police administrators said they were just made aware of this incident Tuesday evening after media reports.

The department also said no complaints were filed in this case.

However, because of the media reports, the officer in question has been placed on administrative leave while an internal affairs investigation begins.

“That involves the internal affairs unit. Also, the civilian review board will be taking a look, and also the district attorney’s office will also be taking a look at this case,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Kendrick with the Salt Lake City Police Department.

Also, for the time being, all Salt Lake K-9s trained to apprehend people are being put on hold.

“Through this incident and because of this incident, we’ll be reviewing some of the K-9 policies,” said Kendrick. “Outside external experts that will be taking a look at that.”

However, Ryans’ attorney said police knew about this case for months.

He believes something should’ve been done back then, and not only after his client’s intent to file a lawsuit.

“It’s just unfortunate that it takes something like this to make that happen because nobody was looking into it before this,” said White.

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SLC Police Officer Suspended, K-9 Apprehensions On Hold After Man Bitten