The FBI has launched an investigation into a Missouri police department after viral video surfaced showing a detained black man repeatedly being bitten by a police dog.
The disturbing footage shows the suspect with his hands on a squad car when the canine is released and begins biting his foot Monday in the St. Louis County city of Woodson Terrace.
After several seconds, two officers take the man to the ground, with the dog still chomping on his right foot, the clip shows. The man then tries to stand up but is taken down by the dog again.
The cops then appear to handcuff the suspect.
“Don’t let the dog bite him,” a woman is heard yelling at the cops on the video. “Are you serious? Oh my God. You let him bite him.”
The suspect’s name has not been released.
Woodson Terrace Police Chief Randy Halsted told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his department is “fully cooperating” with the federal probe.
According to a police Facebook post, cops responded to the scene shortly before 7:20 a.m. Monday on a trespassing complaint.
“Our officers made contact with the subject and the subject immediately started threatening to kill the officers and identified as a sovereign citizen,” the post said. “The subject continued yelling obscenities and telling the officers he would not comply and he ‘will not obey our contract.’”
He said the man resisted when cops attempted to handcuff him.
“The subject was then warned several times that if he did not comply the K9 would be released,” the post said. “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 department said the dog was pulled off the man but released again when the man continued to resist.
The man was treated for unspecified injuries at the hospital and released. Charges against him are pending.
The footage has angered local activists, who rallied outside police headquarters on Friday.
“We are outraged by the vile and despicable behavior of the Woodston Terrace police officers,” community activist Zaki Baruti told the Associated Press.
Another, the Rev. Darryl Gray, called it “reprehensible and inexcusable.”
With Post wires