Derk Brown, an on-air personality at 96.3 The Lou, shared the video with a warning about its graphic nature. “I was just tagged in a video of a disturbing arrest this morning at around 8:45am that took place in #WoodsonTerrance/#StAnn (#StLouisCounty),” he wrote in his Facebook post. “The video shows police allowing a K-9 dog to continue biting a man after he gave up and not resisting.”
Warning: The videos in this story contain violent footage that may be triggering for some viewers.
Woodson Terrace Chief Randy Halstead said in an email the Post-Dispatch obtained that his department is “fully cooperating” with federal investigators and that St. Louis County prosecutors have requested information about the arrest, which happened in the St. Louis suburb at around 7:15 AM. Police were called to the area with a report of a break-in at a local business, officials said in a statement posted on Facebook. They said the man seemed to be on drugs and was placed under arrest when he threatened officers and proclaimed to be a “sovereign citizen.” Officials also said he didn’t comply with their commands, resisted arrest, and continued resisting even after they warned him that the police dog would be released.
“The suspect continued to resist, causing minor injuries to one of the officers so the K-9 was released and the K-9 gained control of the suspect’s foot,” police said in the statement.
View the complete police statement:
***** Press Release *****
On Monday, 09/20/2021 at approximately 7:18 am our officers responded to a local business for a subject trespassing and refusing to leave. The caller was fearful the subject was going to remain in the building. Upon the officers arrival the subject left the business and was located by the officers walking towards another business. Our officers made contact with the subject and the subject immediately started threatening to kill the officers and identified as a sovereign citizen. The subject continued yelling obscenities and telling the officers he would not comply and he “will not obey your contract”. The subject continued to walk away from the officers and several commands to stop were given by the officers but the subject failed to comply and continued to walk away into rush hour traffic on Woodson Road. The officers had to block traffic to keep the subject from getting struck by vehicles. The officers observed that the subject was under the influence of a narcotic and advised him he was under arrest. The officers advised the subject to place his hands behind his back but he refused and when the officers attempted to place the subjects hands behind his back the subject resisted and refused to comply. The officers attempted to get the subject to cooperate with them but the subject continued resisting. The subject was then warned several times that if he did not comply the K9 would be released. The subject continued to resist causing minor injuries to one of the officers so the K9 was released and the K9 gained control of the suspect’s foot. The suspect went to the ground and the K9 was pulled off the subject. After the K9 was pulled off of the suspect the officers attempted to place the subject into handcuffs but due to the subject being under the influence of drugs he continued to resist and the officers were unable to restrain the subject. The subject got up and attempted to flee from the officers and the K9 was released again biting the suspect on his leg. The officers were able to handcuff the subject and the K9 was pulled off. An ambulance responded but the subject refused medical attention and he was transported to the Woodson Terrace Police Department. The subject began complaining about his injuries so the ambulance responded and transported the subject to the hospital. After the subject was arrested the officers found suspected Methamphetamine on the subject which would explain why the officers were unable to restrain the subject. The subject was released pending application of warrants.
A spokesman for St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell told the Post-Dispatch the office has not made a decision about whether to prosecute, and said the man who was attacked has not been charged. Bell told the newspaper he promises to conduct a “thorough review” of the encounter. Protesters who showed up outside the police department on Friday demanded the officers involved be fired and prosecuted after seeing the video. It began with police allowing the dog to bite the man’s foot while he’s restrained on the hood of a car. The dog is then shown biting the man for about 10 seconds before an officer tries to pull him back, but the dog continues gnawing at the man’s foot. “Help,” he yelled repeatedly. The dog continued biting the man even as officers arrested him, with the mauling lasting more than 25 seconds.
Michael Gould, a K-9 expert with more than 35 years of experience in handling police dogs, told NBC-affiliated KSDK the video is “problematic.” “The fact of the matter is, it’s a human reflex response, you can’t have an 80-pound dog puncturing your skin and be compliant,” he said. “It’s virtually impossible.”
In an an editorial given the headline “Woodson Terrace officers keep Bull Connor’s legacy alive,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s editorial board compares the attack to the tyranny of the 1960s and one Birmingham public safety chief, Bull Connor, who in the name of shutting civil rights protesters up allowed them to be brutalized by police dogs. “There was nothing so urgent in the Woodson Terrace arrest that prevented officers from trying alternative techniques so cooler heads could prevail,” the editorial board wrote. “The sole message seemed to be: If you as a Black person show the slightest resistance, here’s what we can do to you.”