Utah police dept. suspends K-9 unit after Black man attacked

Aug. 13 (UPI) -- The Salt Lake City Police Department has suspended its K9 unit a day after bodycam footage was published showing an officer ordering his police dog to attack a Black man keeling on the ground with his hands in the air.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the department said the officer in question has also been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the incident.


The department said it has launched an independent review of the K9 apprehension program's policies, procedures, training and application in the field.

"At the conclusion of this investigation, we will be open and transparent in our findings and recommendations," the department said.

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The announcement came a day after the Salt Lake Tribune published bodycam footage of the April 24 incident, showing a police officer ordering his dog to bite the Black man, identified as 36-year-old Jeffery Ryans, who screams while asking the officers for an explanation and stating that he was only retrieving his work clothes.

The newspaper reported that Ryans was having a smoke in his backyard when the police approached him.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall tweeted that she was "deeply concerned" that the incident was only brought to her attention and that of senior police leadership when it was published in the newspaper and a review will be conducted in the breakdown of communication.


"I am disturbed by what I saw in that video, frustrated by how the situation was handled and am committed to working to ensure neither happen again," she said.

The Salt Lake City Police Department confirmed in its statement that it only learned of the incident Tuesday and that of Ryans' intent to file a lawsuit against them.

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