ST. LOUIS – FOX 2 has obtained cellphone video of police officers allowing a police dog to continually bite a suspect during an arrest Monday morning near St. Louis-Lambert International Airport.
The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is investigating both police and the suspect.
Woodson Terrace Police responded to a trespassing call with a man refusing to leave a business just south on Interstate 70 on Woodson Road around 7:15 a.m.
The man was under the influence of a narcotic, according to police. People working in the area were getting a little scared.
One of those workers caught the arrest with his cellphone. He shared the video with FOX 2 but declined an interview.
The video shows a Black male with his hands on the hood of an unmarked police car. He had resisted arrest, causing a minor injury to an officer, and had threatened kill officers, calling himself a “sovereign citizen” who did not have to obey government laws, according to police. The suspect was in his 30s.
Woodson Terrace Police gave this account on the use of the K9:
The officers advised the subject to place his hands behind his back but he refused and when the officers attempted to place the subject’s 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.Woodson Terrace Police Department
The video shows the police dog biting the suspect’s leg for nearly 90 seconds. You can hear what sounds like the suspect yelling “help” and “get it off…get it off.”
“(Police) have a tough job,” said St. Louis County NAACP President John Bowman.
After watching the video, he told FOX 2 it was profoundly disturbing, regardless of police motives.
“It gives an appearance that takes us back to a time period that we’re trying our best to forget. It was haunting to see a dog being unleashed on a human being in that manner. There were three very healthy, strong police officers present,” he said.
Bowman called for a thorough, outside investigation of how Woodson Terrace Police, an 18-member department currently with no Black officers on its staff, handled the arrest.
“I’m just hoping that we can at some point get to a place where the minority community does not see so much of this to where the relationships and trust between the community and the police departments … cannot get to a better place,” Bowman said. “The need to subdue the individual making those remarks and being on drugs, absolutely, for the sake of public safety, I understand. I cannot say I understand that type of force with this person. We’ve got to stop seeing these videos where people are aggressively arrested.”
St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell issued the following statement:
Our office is aware of this video, and we will make a thorough review of the incident. It would be premature to comment on the merits or specifics of an ongoing investigation at this time.St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell
Officers found what appeared to be methamphetamine on the suspect and after initially refusing medical attention, he asked to go to a hospital for treatment of puncture wounds to his leg, police said.
Paramedics asked for a police escort in transporting the unruly suspect out of concern for their safety, police said.
The Woodson Terrace police chief tells FOX 2 he wished officers had 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 arrive.