LOCAL NEWS

Police Release 911 Call In SLC K-9 Investigation

Aug 13, 2020, 11:47 PM | Updated: 11:51 pm

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A newly-released 911 call is shedding more light on the events that led up to an April arrest, in which a man was bit numerous times by a Salt Lake City police K-9.

Jeffery Ryans and his lawyers said they plan to file a lawsuit alleging excessive force over the April 24 encounter, where attorneys said Ryans’ leg was left looking like “somebody hit him with a machete or a chainsaw.”

Ryans was booked that night on suspicion of violation of a protective order, and a family member in the 911 call recording can be heard referencing a “restraining order” to a dispatcher.

“My dad is doing very bad things to our family,” the caller stated. “He’s yelling and screaming.”

“Did he strike your mom?” the dispatcher could be heard asking.

“Yes,” the caller replied. “And he’s still yelling.”

The caller, who was breathing heavily, told the dispatcher to “please hurry.”

“It’s obvious as you listen to that recording that somebody needs help,” said Deputy Chief Jeff Kendrick with the Salt Lake City Police Department, who explained that the department was releasing the audio, along with body camera video to provide a clearer picture of the events of that day. “There’s yelling in the background and other things being said, and we’ll let you and the viewers take a listen to that and form your own opinions.”

Responding officers found Ryans in the backyard of the home.

After repeated calls from officers to “get down on the ground” and one officer saying “all the way down,” the body camera video showed Ryans with one knee on the ground and hands up before the K-9 handler instructing the dog to “hit.”

“I’m on the ground, I’m on the ground — why are you biting me?” Ryans could be heard asking as the handler continued to instruct his dog to “hit.”

Ryans’ lawyers did not return calls Thursday evening seeking comment about the 911 audio.

Police said the officer is suspended pending an investigation and that the matter is under review by an internal affairs unit, a civilian review board and by Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill’s office.

While Kendrick did not make any statements that would take a stand one way or another on what took place, he noted the potential risks of responding to domestic violence calls as a reason multiple officers go to those types of scenes.

“Domestic violence calls are some of the most dangerous calls we respond to,” Kendrick said. “It may be firearms within the home, it could be knives found within the kitchen.”

Kendrick hoped the 911 audio along with the body camera video would simply provide more context.

“We felt it was necessary to get this audio out from dispatch to show why the officers did respond,” Kendrick said. “It paints a little bit more of a complete picture, if you will.”

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Police Release 911 Call In SLC K-9 Investigation