Disturbing video posted on Facebook Monday shows a Castro Valley police K-9 mauling a suspect who was already in handcuffs. https://t.co/u5I89vhsZg— KPIX 5 (@KPIXtv) May 23, 2018
A black man who was pulled over for a DUI in Castro Valley, California, was unduly attacked, without provocation, by a police officer’s K-9 unit, all while already being handcuffed.
The Alameda County Sheriff Department pulled Joshua Phillips over at close to 2 a.m. on Monday morning. Phillips was suspected of driving under the influence.
Phillips’ sister, Michelle Lee, recorded her brother’s interactions with the deputies, publishing it all to a Facebook Live stream on her profile. Phillips had been handcuffed already by the authorities while they were questioning him.
At some point, one of the deputies released the K-9 without any reason for doing so. The deputy alleges a button that releases the dog was accidentally pressed, allowing it to run out.
After its release from the vehicle, the unattended K-9 dashed over to the car, then immediately ran over to Phillips, biting him in the leg. Phillips’ chilling screams can be heard on the video, his injuries being severe enough to warrant stitches later on at the hospital. Because he was handcuffed, he was unable to defend himself.
“I was shocked, I was scared, I was screaming,” Phillips said.
Although the sheriff’s department alleged the release of the dog was an accident, Phillips said he remains skeptical.
“The dog walks out, and he shines a light on me, and the dog attacks me when you shine the light on me,” he said. “That’s how the dogs are trained.”
Phillips said he’s hopeful that justice will be served, for the officer involved and the dog, which he wants to see euthanized.
“I feel like it was intentionally done, and I don’t have any remorse for what happens to the officer or the dog,” he added.
The sheriff’s office said it will pay for Phillips’ medical expenses, but more should be done. Justice should still be carried out, and the officer involved ought to face consequences for his actions, intended or not.
The dog’s fate should be considered more carefully. After all, as Phillips pointed out, it was just doing what it had been trained to do. That said, the use of K-9 units ought to be re-examined itself, as this isn’t the only instance of violence against a person of color involving a police dog.
Just like any other weapon that an officer wields, the K-9 must only be used in special circumstances — not, for example, when a man has already been handcuffed and is cooperating with police commands.
Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Brendan McDermid/Reuters