Warning: Graphic video content
A police brutality video shows an inmate at the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office writhing in pain as a K-9 bites down on his arm — and the county sheriff called it justifiable use of force.
Christopher Bartlett, an inmate who, according to Columbia County Spotlight, may have a history of mental illness, needed to be moved to a different cell in the prison. He was told by the police to put his hands through the slot in his cell door, which is used to push meals to inmates, so officers could handcuff him.
However, Bartlett refused to comply. The officers went away and then returned with a K-9, which looked ready to jump at the cowering man.
"You're gonna get bit!" the deputy warned Bartlett as the dog continued to bark.
After a few seconds, the officers opened the door and the K-9 immediately leapt on the man, who stood cowering against the wall. The dog immediately clamped its jaws hard on the man and took him down. It continued to violently shake Bartlett’s arm, tearing into his flesh as the man writhed and screamed in pain.
Meanwhile, the deputies told the inmate to “stop resisting” — but how could he when he was in so much agony?
After 20 seconds, the deputy wrenched the K-9 from Bartlett’s arm and dragged it outside. Then he showered the dog, which was still barking madly, with praise.
“God boy! God boy!” he said, then turning to Bartlett he issued the dire warning, “You gonna get bit again, Chris.”
When questioned about the violent incident, Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said the use of force was justified.
“We do not relish having to resort to force. We do what we can to minimize the length and intensity of these confrontations to protect the staff AND the inmates from severe injury,” said Dickerson.
“We bring the dog in and we give him a command to bark,” he added. “We need people to realize there is a dog and the dog is ready to go at it if you continue to push the issue. The dog is trained so that the officer doesn't have to get in there and get into a fist fight with somebody.”
The use of police dogs has become controversial in recent years. Now that police departments are telling their officers to wear bodycams, the public has access to damning accounts of vicious K-9 attacks, among other things. Many cases involving these dogs have resulted in serious injuries for the victims — so Dickerson’s statement that K-9s are used to prevent injuries to the inmates does not actually hold water.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: REUTERS/Mike Segar