Utah Officer Charged After Police Dog Bites Black Man

On April 24, Jeffery Ryans was in his backyard when police responded to a domestic dispute call. However, as officers arrived on scene, Ryans ended up being forced to his knees after being bitten by one of the officer’s dogs, despite complying with the cops’ orders.

Now, that K9 officer is being charged with assault over the incident. Prosecutors announced the charge on Wednesday (September 16) and also released some of the details of what happened.

According to the Salt Lake County district attorney’s office, Ryans complied with officers’ orders to raise his hands and remain in the backyard. K9 officer Nickolas Pearce then told Ryans to get on the ground before kicking him in the leg, forcing him to his knees, and ordering the dog to bite Ryans.

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Body camera footage reveals Pearce repeatedly praising the dog and saying “good boy” while it latched onto Ryans’ left leg for about 20 seconds as he was being put in handcuffs.

Ryans later underwent surgery and experienced “prolonged loss of the use” of his leg, prosecutors say. His attorneys claim the officer caused an avoidable injury that resulted in Ryans suffering nerve and tendon damage as well as infections that could lead to amputation.

After Ryans went public with his story in a Salt Lake Tribune article last month, the Salt Lake PD opened an investigation and suspended the use of police dogs in apprehensions.

The department said Wednesday it takes the DA’s decision “very seriously” and it will be considered part of its internal affairs investigation.

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