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18 Cases Referred To District Attorney After Review Into SLCPD K-9 Program

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – A number of Salt Lake City police officers are on leave after a review of the department’s K-9 apprehension program.

Two-thirds of the cases that have been reviewed are being referred to the district attorney’s office for criminal investigation.

Officials announced there would be a review into the program after Salt Lake City resident Jeffrey Ryans reported an officer ordered a K-9 to attack him during an incident in April, even though the suspect was complying.

Ryans is suing the police department for the injuries he received while he was on his knees with his hands in the air.

The officer, Nickolas Pearce, was charged with second-degree aggravated assault.

Salt Lake City Police Chief Mike Brown said he was concerned following the report. He made the decision to look back at four year’s worth of reported dog bites that include body cam video.

The review found 18 cases that are now being referred to the district attorney.

Jeffrey Ryans attorney, Gabriel White, said he thinks the announcement of the review is a step in the right direction with transparency, and that he’s supportive of the cities actions in this process.

“We are holding our breath to see how far they actually take it,” said White.

He mentioned that they have not had anyone from the city directly reach out them about their lawsuit and potentially settling it.

The exact number of officers on leave was not immediately made available.

As the investigation into the bites continue, the apprehension portion of the program has been suspended indefinitely.

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