An investigation into K-9 training is underway after a video this week appeared to show a North Carolina cop lift a police dog by its leash and slam the canine into the side of a patrol car, according to a report.
Salisbury Police Chief Jerry Stokes told reporters he was aware of the video during a news conference Tuesday but said he “cannot comment in detail because it is an ongoing personnel matter.”
“SPD can confirm that as a matter of course, the officer has been administratively separated from the K-9 while SPD conducts its review,” Stokes said. “The canine was not harmed and is healthy and being well-cared for.”
The roughly one-minute-long video was sent to Charlotte’s FOX 46 by an anonymous source, according to the station.
After the dog — later identified as Zuul — exits the vehicle, the officer yells, walks up to the animal, and puts a leash on. He then picks up Zuul by the leash and swings the K-9 over his shoulder as he walks back to the car.
“We’re good, no witnesses,” someone in the video was heard saying.
Soon after, the officer seems to slam Zuul into the side of the vehicle before shoving the canine inside. He then appears to strike the dog, according to the video.
The video concludes with another person asking “Is your camera on?”
“No, my power is off,” replied the person who appeared to be recording.
It was not immediately clear when the incident took place.
Stokes said an outside agency will be leading an inquiry into the incident, which will talk to former handlers at other police departments, an owner of a police canine training firm and “internal K-9 supervisory staff.”
The chief noted that police dogs are trained to use force against criminal suspects and a handler must ensure they have complete control over the dog at all times. He added that at no point was a Taser used on the animal.
“When a canine is noncompliant with the handler’s commands, the handler is trained to correct the dog,” Stokes said. “Canine training tactics and corrective measures can sometimes be alarming out of context. SPD cannot and will not comment about whether the training tactics used in the video were appropriate, because that is still being reviewed.”
Zuul was at the press conference on Tuesday, the chief said.
Salisbury, N.C., is about 40 miles northeast of Charlotte.
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