A North Carolina cop caught on video abusing his K-9 partner – slamming the police dog into an SUV – has resigned, department officials said.
The resignation of Salisbury Police Officer James Hampton came weeks after disturbing footage was sent anonymously to a local news station showing him lifting up the leashed K-9, Zuul, around his shoulder and slamming the animal into the side of the vehicle.
The shocking incident led to an investigation by a third-party agency for the “inappropriate discipline” doled out to the K-9 during a training session, Salisbury police said Wednesday.
“The police department’s review determined that Officer Hampton had acted in a manner entirely inconsistent with his K-9 training and had violated police department policy,” police said in a statement. “As a result, he was recommended for termination.”
Hampton then resigned, effective immediately, following a due process hearing and prior to any formal disciplinary action, department officials said.
“The police department did not incentivize or otherwise request Officer Hampton’s resignation, which he tendered as a matter of right,” the statement continued.
Police noted the immediate calls for Hampton’s firing, but said he was afforded due process just like any other city employee.
A Salisbury city spokesperson told NBC News Hampton had joined the department in 2013 and became a K-9 officer two years later.
Hampton could not be reached for comment Wednesday, NBC News reported.
Officials from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, meanwhile, said Hampton’s resignation was a “step in the right direction,” but called for the former officer to be criminally charged.
“We want to know when cruelty charges will finally be filed and what the Salisbury Police Department is doing to implement modern, humane training methods so that no other K-9s suffer as Zuul did,” PETA’s senior vice president, Daphna Nachminovitch, said in a statement. “PETA looks forward to progress and transparency.”