ST. LOUIS – FOX 2 obtained cell phone video of police officers allowing a police dog to continually bite a suspect during an arrest Monday morning near Saint-Louis-Lambert International Airport.
The St. Louis County District Attorney’s Office is investigating both the police and the suspect.
Woodson Terrace Police responded to a trespass call with a man refusing to leave a business just south of Interstate 70 on Woodson Road at around 7.15am.
The man was under the influence of a narcotic, police said. People who worked in the area were starting to get a little scared.
One of these workers overheard the arrest with his cell phone. He shared the video with FOX 2 but declined an interview.
The video shows a black man with his hands on the hood of an unmarked police car. He had resisted arrest, causing minor injury to an officer, and threatened to kill officers, calling himself a “sovereign citizen” who did not have to obey government laws, according to police. The suspect was in his thirties.
Woodson Terrace police gave this account of the use of the K9:
Officers advised the subject to place his hands behind his back, but he refused and when officers attempted to place the subject’s hands behind his back, the subject resisted and refused to comply. The officers tried to get the subject to cooperate with them, but the subject continued to resist. The subject was then repeatedly warned that if he did not comply, the K9 would be released. Subject continued to resist, causing minor injuries to one of the officers, so K9 was released and K9 took control of the suspect’s foot. The suspect went to the ground and the K9 was removed from the subject.
After the K9 was removed from the suspect, the police attempted to handcuff him, but because the subject was under the influence of drugs, he continued to resist and the police were unable to subdue him. Subject stood up and attempted to flee from the police and the K9 was released again, biting the suspect in the leg.
Officers were able to handcuff the subject and the K9 was removed.
Woodson Terrace Police Department
The video shows the police dog biting the suspect’s leg for almost 90 seconds. You can hear what sounds like the suspect yelling “help” and “take him out … take him out”.
“(Police) have a tough job,” said St. Louis County NAACP Chairman John Bowman.
After watching the video, he told FOX 2 that it was deeply disturbing, regardless of the motives of the police.
“It gives an appearance that brings us back to a time that we are trying our best to forget. It was haunting to see a dog lash out at a human in this way. There were three very healthy and strong police officers, ”he said.
Bowman has called for a full external investigation into how Woodson Terrace Police, an 18-member service currently without a black officer on staff, handled the arrest.
“I just hope we can at some point get to a place where the minority community doesn’t see so much where the relationship and trust between the community and the police … can’t get to a better place “, Bowman mentioned. “The need to restrain the person making these remarks and using drugs, absolutely, for the sake of public safety, I understand. I can’t say that I understand this type of force with this person. We need to stop seeing these videos where people are being aggressively arrested. “
St. Louis County District Attorney Wesley Bell made the following statement:
Our office is aware of this video and we will conduct a full review of the incident. It would be premature to comment on the merits or details of an investigation currently underway.
Wesley Bell, St. Louis County District Attorney
Officers found what appeared to be methamphetamine on the suspect and after initially refusing medical treatment, he requested to go to hospital for treatment of puncture wounds in his leg, police said.
Paramedics have requested a police escort to transport the unruly suspect out of concern for his safety, police said.
The Woodson Terrace Police Chief told FOX 2 he wanted officers to have body cameras to give a more complete picture of the incident. The department received approval to purchase them earlier this year, but the cameras have yet to be delivered.