State Watch

Police investigating after video shows officer slamming K-9 into car

Police in Salisbury, N.C., are investigating after a video surfaced depicting an officer lifting a K-9 by the dog's neck and physically throwing the dog into a police cruiser while a second officer commented on no witnesses being present.

Video first obtained by local news affiliate Fox 46 depicts an unidentified trooper approaching a K-9 after the dog exited the cruiser during a practice session without the officer's consent. In the video, the unidentified officer is seen approaching the prone animal, grabbing it by the dog's leash very close to the neck, and physically tossing the animal into the back seat of a cruiser.

While the encounter occurs, other officers are heard discussing in favorable terms the prospect of a lack of witnesses, while one specifically asks his partner, "is your camera on?" seconds after the officer in the video is seen physically striking the dog.

A statement from the police department indicated that the situation was under investigation, and that the officer in question had been separated from his K-9 partner while the probe continued.

"The Salisbury Police Department is aware of the video that has been provided to the media depicting a Salisbury officer during canine training but cannot comment in detail because it is an ongoing personnel matter. In accordance with policy, SPD's review of and response to this matter is and will continue to be thorough and fair so as to provide due process to everyone involved. SPD can confirm that, as a matter of course, the officer has been administratively separated from the canine while SPD conducts its review. The canine was not harmed and is healthy and being well-cared-for," the police department said.

"To ensure integrity of the investigation of this matter an outside agency has been charged with leading the inquiry. This agency is interviewing and reviewing the matter with identified experts in handling canines, including former handlers with other police departments, an owner of a police canine training firm, and internal K9 supervisory staff," Salisbury police continued in the statement.

A veteran K-9 handler told local news affiliate WJZY in Pennsylvania in response to the video that the officer in question was likely cutting off the dog's breathing by lifting the animal in such a matter.

"By slinging the dog over his shoulder, carrying him back, he's cutting off that blood supply and air for several seconds, and then by throwing him in the vehicle the way he did, he risked causing some cervical spine or cerebral spine injuries to the dog," Roy Taylor said.

Outbrain