(UPI) -- A new report about the Los Angeles Sheriff Department’s Canine Special Detail found that every single one of the unit’s dog bite victims in the first six months of 2013 was either black or Latino.
The number of minority individuals bitten by police dogs rose dramatically from 2004 to 2012 and the urban areas of Century, City of Industry, Compton, Lakewood, and South LA/Lennox, experienced more dog bites than 21 other agencies or stations combined over the last nine years.
According to the report, released by the Police Assessment Resource Center (PARC): "Victims of the dog bites are almost universally African-American and Latino.”
Dog bites cause injuries at far higher rates than other weapons, such as batons, tear gas, and guns. A federal judge describes the pressure from a dog bite as equivalent to “a car tire running over a body part” in the report.
Merrick Bobb, executive director of PARC, believes that the LASD's K-9 unit is simply being deployed too often. Bobb said that PARC staff members are seeing "a trend to use canines in circumstances where lesser force had been used in the past...We believe that the handlers have been too quick to use dog bites in some situations where other, potentially less damaging force is available."
It’s probably safe to assume that all of the people who have already been bitten by a police dog this year share his opinion.